Story Cricket? Story of my life...

Discussion in 'Cricket Leagues' started by qpeedore, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Chapter 11 - The meeting

    (NB from Qpee, it's been a LONG while but I've had a lot going on personally with work and whatnot. Not letting things die. Almost a year ago or not. Please comment.)

    I sat in the empty classroom, the folder of documents in front of me. So much had come to pass over the past couple of weeks that my mind was still coming to terms with it all. We had met with the school board a few times, ironed out the kinks. Scott and I had developed a basic contract which was approved by the men in charge, and we had then applied to the league board itself. More meetings followed. Having been in the pressure situation of being in the spotlight once before, via Mr. Browne, my speech flowed easily, and Scott backed me up whenever I faltered. He was incredibly keen on this entire idea of a new team, although he still had his reservations about the roster being composed of teens.


    Somehow, we got approved by the league. Mr. Browne the third voted against us, but we had managed to convince the rest of that board with the idea of the young bloods playing. Encouraging cricket in the city amongst the youth was our platform, and boy did Scott work that theme with all the flair of a veteran politician. We had given them the initial paperwork, and between Scott and myself (which took an insane amount out of our already fledgling savings accounts), we had gotten enough money to make the initial payments for the application process. It meant that I would be eating Ramen and spray-can cheese sandwiches for some time, but whatever. We needed a team name and logo, but we had decided to leave that until we actually had a team. I still did not know if we would have one, to be honest.


    I had put up flyers throughout the school and had spread the word amongst the students. Anyone interested in playing cricket (it involves a ball and a bat, guys), please attend a meeting on Thursday afternoon at 4pm. I hoped that we would get enough people in attendance.


    Another piece of good news was that I had been messaging Jaime with the news that we would be forming our own team. He quickly said that he was interested, although he was not too keen on the whole teenager thing himself. I reminded him that he had started playing at the age of 18 in his year off between high school and university, to which he quickly shut up.


    Scott, still ever-researching the way a team is supposed to be run, had decided that us three would form the core of the “board” of the team. I was team president, manager, head coach and player. He was team vice-president, assistant manager, coach and player. Jaime was team treasurer, secretary, coach, and player. A lot of roles for a few people, but we would make it work somehow.


    I flipped though the folder for what must have been the fourth time in ten minutes. More out of nervousness than anything else. A quick glance a the clock on the wall showed that it was nearing a quarter to four. Almost time. My phone buzzed and I looked down to see Jaime's message that he was on site. I picked up the conventional phone on the desk and called the main security booth, identifying myself by name and teacher ID number before telling them I was expecting visitors, naming both Jaime and Scott. The school simply did not let in people who had no business to be around and would no doubt check their identification cards before entry.


    A few minutes later, Jaime was walking through the door. I stood and greeted him. This was the first time in months I had seen him, and as it was nearing winter, the season had concluded just the week before. He had resigned from the Detonators, our previous team, within a day of the league ending. My former team had finished third in the standings, and from what I had heard, Wayne was not happy and blamed me for injuring him and not having him play the crucial matches.


    I counted to ten in my head as I tried to shut thoughts of Wayne out. Jeez. Anger management...hmph.


    “James, what's up. Good to see you, man.” I said, pulling him in close for a brief hug. “Scott's supposed to be here soon, too.”


    Jaime looked around. “Funny. When I went to school here it was never this fancy.”


    “You went to school here?!” I was shocked.


    “Oh yeah...years ago, of course.”


    Jaime was studying to be an engineer in an off-campus branch of the university. I had no idea he had gone to school in the same place in which I was now employed. It sort of made me feel a greater sense of kinship with him.


    We quickly caught up and exchanged stories. Scott came about five minutes later and we all waited with our breaths held and our hearts in our throats. The minutes passed by, with awkward conversation among us about “that time Scott missed the stumping because he had the ball in his right hand but broke the bails with his left” or “remember when Qpee appealed and got not out, only to appeal again and get it out?” Then...silence among us.


    “Nobody's coming...” Jaime began. Scott held up his hand to cut him off.


    “No, Jaime. Qpee has a few students big on cricket. They won't let us down. We'll work with what we have and then branch off from there.”


    “If you say so.”


    I sat quietly. Three minutes to four. Two. One. Four pm. Still, nobody. The clock ticked on.


    Nervously, I shuffled some papers around, my mind focused on nothing but the waste of time and money which we had suffered. Then, two young men walked in.


    And after those, more came. And the floodgates opened.


    We shook hands with each person and sat them down. At 4.30pm, we started the meeting proper. Scott had bought a thick notebook for Jaime to take down the minutes, and he began to do so diligently. As I welcomed the students, I saw many familiar faces. It gave me heart and inspiration to see them there, and I daresay that my speech may have been a little cliché or lifted from a movie somewhere. But what did the students care? They had likely been too young to see Braveheart, or that inspirational scene from Independence Day. Or somesuch.


    But after the motivation and all, this was just a first meeting, so everyone introduced themselves and stated their reasons for coming. By the end of everything, we decided to meet for our first practise/tryout session in one week's time.


    As the students left, the three of us discussed who had come and who could probably feature into our plans from the very start. This was the list of all who had come, as summarised in that thick notebook and with my own knowledge of the students added in...


    Sean and Greg: Two brothers originally from Scotland. About a year or so apart, they were very similar looking and could be mistaken for twins if you only glanced at them. They had moved here after their father had accepted a job requiring their relocation to the USA. Something about oil and chemical engineering. Being Scottish, they were familiar with cricket, although they had not played in years. Greg was the leaner of the two, and used to bowl medium pace at primary school level in Scotland. Sean used to keep wicket. All three of us agreed that if we could work Greg up to a good speed, he could be one to spearhead our attack. As for Sean, Scott said that while he was a good wicketkeeper, he could field in the circle if needed, and let Sean wear the gloves. I told him that we would see about that. I would not let the best keeper in years just field at silly mid off.


    Ranu: That's his shortened name. His full first name is about six syllables long and damn near unpronouncable. Add about five other names to the end of that, and you'd agree that Ranu is probably better. His family is from Sri Lanka, but he was born in the States. Cricket is in his blood, though, and he would often play in the park with his parents and siblings. He mentioned to us that he bowled leg spin but was not much of a batsman. Good enough for us, I guess.


    Eliza: The only girl who showed up, prompting a few questions from both Jaime and myself. Scott said that the rules did not specifically state that women cannot play. She had no cricketing experience, but she needed something on her recommendation letter for university that was unusual enough for her papers to be noticed.


    Jameson: A tall, lanky young man who I knew from working with him in the lab. He had Caribbean roots somewhere along the line, and had grown up on the stories of great West Indian fast bowlers. He had described himself as “a bit uncoordinated” but he was willing to try anything. That being said, he had tried basketball in the past and was not the best. But cricket, he was motivated for. “I come from a sporting family,” he said, “I need to show them that I'm not the nerdy black sheep.”


    Miles: Another one of the many who did not know much about cricket. But he was a good athlete, having done the long jump and triple jump in the past. Something about the game interested him, he said. Scott elbowed me and said if a guy does jumps then he knows how to stop on a line while maintaining momentum. Make him a bowler, he said. That may not have been such a bad idea, to be honest.


    Sam: He was all out American, yet he used to attend most of the league matches. Stumbling upon the game on YouTube one day, he had been interested and was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were matches in his area. He mentioned that he would sometimes use his baseball bat much like a cricket bat, although given the nature of baseball, it was hard for him to not hit to the leg side all the time from a cricket batsman's stance.


    Michael: Solid is the best word for this young man. He was muscular, powerful, and looked like he could genuinely beat you up. He had been on his junior high amateur wrestling team, and would have taken it even further if our school had a wrestling team of its own. But while at the lower level, the team had made it to the world championships in Australia. Part of that trip involved seeing a Pura Cup match and a “net session” with some of the team. He was horrible with his timing, he said, but when he did hit the ball, he was powerful. One or two of the bowlers had told him that if he ever got a chance to play cricket and hone his power, he should.


    Vishan: One of Ranu's best friends, and also another young man with subcontinental origins. His father had escaped what was then a very trying time in Iran's history, and had opened up a Middle Eastern restaurant with the money he had left on him. Over time and with the success of his Arabic food, he had been able to pay for the rest of his family to come to the USA. Now, the restaurant had about four different branches in the city, and his family definitely were wealthy. As for Vishan, he would often take part in Ranu's family's games on a weekend, and he loved it.


    Wilburforce: This unfortunately named young man (he swears it belonged to his great grandfather, who was a general in the Civil War...Jaime begged to differ) was one of the ones chosen by the school board to receive a full scholarship. He came from very humble beginnings, and it was hard for him to adjust to the shock of attending a private school. I had found him crying silently to himself in the lab one day after school, and he had told me that he did not feel like he fit in. After speaking to him for some time, I had managed to cheer him up, and now he wanted to follow in my footsteps. He began attending my matches and had learned a great deal about cricket along the way.


    Alex: The stereotypical overachiever. He knew next to nothing about cricket, but he wanted to give it a try. Any new club or committee that was formed in school, you can bet that he would be there. A chunky (not so much Ranatunga-esque, more like Inzy) guy, he would need a bit of fitness training in his future for sure.


    Jason: Eliza's on-again, off-again boyfriend. At the time, they were off-again. He wanted to win her back, and so had followed her to the meeting. One of the many who did not know much about cricket, but he said that he was going to do anything to impress her. I hope he knew what that anything meant.


    And there we had it. A small bunch, a lot of whom really needed some training about cricket. Jaime took all of their information including emails and phone numbers. We handed them their “contracts” and told them that their parents needed to sign it. It involved things like being cut from the team if you didn't maintain at least a B- average and that you needed to maintain the Spirit of the Game and so on, etc. Scott then gave them a sheet of paper each, on which was printed links to the rules of the game and also some useful links on YouTube explaining those rules and then some links directing them to some of the better highlights we had seen over the years.


    All in all, I suppose it was a successful meeting. But I wondered who would turn up for the next one, or even for our practise session.
     
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  2. Aravind. ICC Board Member

    Aravind.
    KKR India
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Location:
    Tamil Nadu, India.
    Great writing keep em coming.
     
  3. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Would ANYONE be interested in me continuing this?
     
  4. PresidentEvil You-Know-Who

    PresidentEvil
    RCB... Xtreme Rebelz India
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    National Team:
    Domestic Team:
    Royal Challengers Bangalore
    Me. :)
     
    qpeedore said thanks for this.
  5. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    I don't even know where to find this story anymore, to be honest...but I'll continue it even if one person wants it, and one person does!

    Update by the weekend then.

    Hopefully the lighter side of humour is fine so far...
     
    Till Valhalla said thanks for this.
  6. MishraJee Panel of Selectors

    RCB...
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2014
    National Team:
    Location:
    Bhubaneswar
    Me too.
     
  7. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Chapter 12 - "A game on our hands"

    "Scott," I said, "You happy?"

    Scott grunted an assent as Miles bowled the ball to long off in preparation. It was the final game of our second season, and while we were not in the best of positions, we were definitely defying the odds. We had come seventh (out of nine) in our first season, and that enough should have been worth a trip to DisneyWorld, if only we had the funds. Now, this season, we had a chance to leapfrog into fifth if we beat the Atomic Knights, and we were currently on the field for that very important game.

    As Miles, our strike bowler (if you remember him, he was the long-jumper...Scott and Jimmy were right, the guy really knew how to pick up momentum and then stop right on a line...all we had to do was teach him a bowling action (hint: YouTube), he actually picked up on a lot of it and he had really been fast. Accuracy...off and on. Some days off, some days on. James (look, by now I had been alternating between James/Jaime/Jimmy/Jimbo/Jim-a-ling-a-ding-dong)...Jaime had been working with the bowlers, despite not being a bowler himself. He had actually been able to get the fact that he had actually gone to the school to be turned into a good thing, and the young guys listened to him.

    "Scott, stand deep, he's fired up," I yelled from extra cover, "James seems to have gotten him pretty riled up."

    I held my breath for the first ball though. One outside the off stump. Scott said it swung just a bit away. I couldn't see that. The next ball I could see though. Swung in, hit the pads. I think even Greg at third man appealed. Out. Great! None for one, or if you're Aussie, one for none. Look, the fact is that a wicket was down.

    The Knights had 143 runs to make to win the match. We had 142 to defend. And damned if I wasn't going to defend that.

    The new batsman walked out. Scott and Jimmy were chirping hard. I wasn't. I sort of wanted the match to just sort itself out, to be honest. I went up to Miles and told him what I wanted him to do. Bowl another inswinger, I said, trap him on the pads early. Get him thinking.

    To my credit, Miles did bowl the inswinger. And me at extra cover saw the ball disappearing to the midwicket boundary. Miles walked in my direction and gave me a look that clearly meant, "Like WTF Qpee?" All I could say was...bowl a bit wider of the off stump. Which he did. And the batsman played and missed a couple of times before he smashed one that I managed to get a hand on. Couldn't stop it totally, but took the momentum out of it. Had to scramble to my feet and chase. Still managed to give them two runs.

    My bad.

    The guys (and one gal) really did great, though. We had them at 18 overs with 21 runs to go. I handed the ball to Ranu (I still can't pronounce this guy's full name). Spin in the 19th over of a T20 match? UNHEARD OF! But I'm not conventional. And Ranu is good. Damn good, actually.

    Ball one. A beauty. Pitching on middle and spinning away from the bat. The batsman attempted a huge drive. No contact. I almost ran onto the pitch in my happiness. Thankfully I didn't (it's a two match ban for ruining the pitch I've read).

    Ball two...he got something on it. Thick edge to third man. Single taken. Okay, now the left hander is on strike. Please Ranu, bowl good.

    Scott was literally over the stumps. I had to tell him to move back a step, else we would be no-balled. He moved back after an extremely healthy discussion with me and the umpire. The third ball of the over...wow...I swear in all my life I haven't seen a ball like this one, and I've seen the Ball of the Century. This one pitched about three feet outside off stump and spun back almost square. Now, we didn't take a wicket from it, it actually spun past leg stump. Scott did really well to collect it behind the stumps actually. Attempted stumping but we all knew it was not out.

    The next ball...another beauty. Between the inside half of the bat and the pads. 20 runs. 9 balls. Or something like that. We could actually win this match!

    Ranu came in again. Googly. Outside edge. Scott made no mistake in taking the catch and promptly celebrated. I ran up to Ranu and hugged him. We could actually win this match even more now! I was so happy, and Ranu was even happier.

    "Scott," I said, "We need to ensure they don't get these runs, man."

    Scott and Jimmy looked at me as if I was crazy, "What do you mean them getting these runs?" Jimmy said.

    "Well they CAN you know." I stated.

    "They CAN, that doesn't mean they WILL." Jimmy replied.

    They took us until the final ball, requiring 5 runs to win, but we did win in the end.

    "No beers?" Jimmy asked after the match was over.

    "James, these are high school kids. They're underage. We can't be drinking beers in front of them. Have a soda instead. Meet me at the bar later, though." I said.

    "You got it, Qpee."

    (EDITED)
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
    CerealKiller and Prithvi thanked this.
  8. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    ...About two weeks late...but work has been horrible as of late, guys. My deepest apologies.
     
  9. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Chapter 13 - "How much of this is actually legal?"

    The next day we met up at Scott's apartment to have our end of season meeting. We would have the meeting with the entire team later that afternoon, but this was sort of the executive meeting before the meeting. We were sitting around Scott's small four-person dining table. He had his laptop in front of him and, for some odd reason, a projector set up in front of a screen.

    "So before we start," he said, "This isn't an official meeting or anything but I'd still like you to write down a few points in our team notebook, Jaime."

    He gestured at Jaime with a flourish and a hint of a smile on his face.

    "Come on man, you're clearly holding out on us," I replied, "It was my turn to have the meeting, I actually had plans to cook for us and everything instead of us just wasting money on delivery that has God-knows-what in it. Then you message us to say the plans are changing, we're meeting here today."

    I had recently taken to cutting out all "outside" food, as I called it, and had been preparing my own meals. Part of a new fitness plan that I had devised for myself. Drink more water. Eat homemade food. The only downside to that was that I was not that good of a cook. But I had been improving slowly. Thank goodness for Food Network and Bobby Flay.

    "Yeah, and you still haven't told us why you have this big getup happening here. Can't the three of us look comfortably at your laptop screen?" Jaime added.

    Scott sneered at both of us. "Look, I have a presentation to practice for work for Monday. I borrowed the projector and screen for the weekend to help me out, and I figured, since I have it, why not use it?"

    "Yeah...work...developing software, right?" I said, in a tone that was originally meant to be condescending, but ended up coming out as childish. "Sorry, man...didn't mean it that way at all."

    Scott snorted in a mildly aggressive way and walked to the kitchen, with an audible, "Hmph" along the way. "Guess you're sitting the first round of beers out." He returned with exactly two beers and tossed one to Jaime, who did a reverse cup and caught it easily. "Now," he continued, "Can I actually be allowed to begin?"

    Jaime, half the contents of the can already down his throat, nodded. I sighed and nodded as well. Scott woke his laptop from Sleep mode and pulled up a couple of things from the Taskbar, which we could see on the screen via the projector. I had to give it to him, it was easier to look at the big canvas screen instead of all crowding around the laptop. He picked up a laser pointer from the table and started drawing our attention to various things. To me it looked like nothing more than a screen full of numbers.

    "This," he said, "Shows every stat of every team in the league this year. I've been pulling up the scorecards after every match and inputting it into this spreadsheet. But the thing is that...you need a different spreadsheet for each team. And you can't really make comparisons unless it's between people on the same team. So you can see we've got batting and bowling averages, strike rates for both batting and bowling, and so on. I've made one for every team. It's not that hard to do when you know how to write certain algorithms to help you out in Excel. If I put in the runs scored and the balls faced here and here, it will automatically calculate the average and strike rate for me. But this can only help us so much."

    I raised my hand up. "Professor Scott, um...you DO realise that the league website gives us, like EXACTLY the same information for no effort other than clicking a couple of links, right?"

    Scott sneered at me again. "Qpee, um...you DO realise that I'M THE ONE who does that for them, right? The only time they didn't have it was when we were banned. They just had the scorecards and that was it. Didn't realise that?"

    "Oh."

    Jaime snorted, and then started coughing as he almost doubled over in laughter. It took him a good few minutes before he was able to compose himself. Scott remained emotionless. I sat in my chair, feeling thoroughly annoyed and embarrassed at the same time. Eventually Jaime stopped laughing and Scott broke a smile before continuing.

    "So, okay I've been doing this for the website, and it's pretty good and all. You get a lot of information from these things. But what we don't have is a way to compare, say a certain batsman against a certain type of bowling, or a certain bowler in particular. Or wagon wheels and strong scoring points. Or ways a batsman gets out the most. That sort of thing we don't have. Until now."

    Scott ran his fingers across the trackpad of the laptop and brought up another window. This one was definitely no spreadsheet. It had a representation of a pitch next to a representation of the field as a whole on the left, while on the right there was a bunch of pull-down menus. On the bottom, maybe about the bottom third of the screen, was blank.

    "In my spare time I've been working on this," he said, "This is the output screen. So on this, we can have areas of scoring, where the ball pitches, a lot of things. We have ways out, against what type of bowler, on what ground, basically every variable you can think of...it's here. The beauty of it," here he paused, as if for dramatic effect, "The beauty of it is that the only REAL inputs it needs are what's already uploaded to the website." He switched to a new tab in the same window, "This...this is the input screen, so you see we can make it a ball by ball thing or an actual innings thing. So if we do ball by ball, you pick your two teams, pick a batsman, the same with the bowler. We've got the bowler type selected automatically but you can change that...you know that guy from the Marauders who bowls medium and off spin...then you can even select where the ball pitches and where the batsman hits it to and how many runs are scored. If he gets out you can select how out, and if it's a catch you can select the position where the catch is taken and by which fielder."

    I raised my hand again. "Scottie, I'm lost." This time it was Scott's turn to double over in laughter at my expense, but he stopped after a few seconds.

    "If it's going over your head, it's okay. It's probably better to give an example. Let's simulate an over. So I haven't gotten around to inputting this season's stats into it yet, but I did input the teams. So let's say you're bowling to Wayne. So I select our team here as the bowling side, I select you as the bowler. See how it automatically detects you as a left arm orthodox, that's because that's your default programming. Now I select the batting team...okay...batsman is Wayne. You with me so far? Jaime?"

    "Yeah." we both said in unison.

    "Okay so first ball, let's say you're not warmed up well enough, you pitch it a bit short, Wayne cuts you out to deep backward point and gets two. So I click on the pitch in the short area, then I click that area on the wagon wheel and you see I can select how many runs from the popup, so I select two. Maybe next ball you bowl a nice full one, so I click on the full area and select the button that says dot ball. And so on for the rest of the over, I'll just randomly click stuff until the the six balls are done."

    "Wait, I want to bowl him off of the last ball," I said, with a smile. Jaime also smiled and held out his hand for a fist bump, which I gave him.

    "Okay," Scott replied, "You give him one on a good length and he gets bowled. So we click on the good length, then click out. The popup now, we click bowled. If he was caught, you'd see another popup that has two pull-down menus asking which position and what fielder. And...now we compile by clicking here...and we go to the output tab. So you see now, we've got percentages of where you've bowled for that over, percentages of what balls he's scored from and where, how out, and everything. It automatically generates the scorecard after the match as well."

    I nodded and got up and went to get my own beer for myself. "Impressive, Scottie. A few questions, though."

    "I know what you're thinking. I need a man."

    Both me and Jaime pushed back from the table and raised our arms out in front of us in protest as Jaime quickly went on the defensive. "That's cool and all, we're in the 21st century and all progressive and -"

    Scott raised his own arm as if he was going to backhand us. "No, you idiots, not that. I mean...I need a man to input all of this when we're playing. You can't expect us to be carrying a laptop out onto the field and inputting data after every ball. Ideally, it would be nice to get full data on every single match, but we can start off with our team alone. The other matches, we'll just use the stuff I put on the site. I think it will give us some great stuff we can use to help coach the kids. We can even use it for our practice sessions, I'll just save it to a different file. But we need someone dedicated who is willing to help us out. I think once we have a decent database, say maybe 50 matches or so, I could maybe try to see if I can code in a sort of prediction system into things."

    "What about Vishan or Ranu's family? They come to our games religiously," Jaime offered.

    "I second that," I replied, "I would lean towards Ranu though, I think his older brother knows a thing or two about computers."

    "Wouldn't hurt to ask." Scott said with a look of thought on his face.

    "Wait, another question," I had seemingly interrupted Scott's thought's and he snapped out of it and stared at me, half-confused. "This thing seems awesome and all, it really does, but if the league board finds out what we're doing, I'm not sure they'd like it. You do the updates for the website, they'll say that you have way more info and you're deliberately hiding it from them. They'll want this info available to everyone. They'll want every team to have their own data guy, and want to make the info available publicly."

    Scott smiled. "Nope, they won't."

    "They won't?"

    "I post the scorecards to the website under a fake username and I always route my IP address through various countries. When they built the website and were asking for volunteers, I volunteered, but since I also wanted to play, I didn't want to compromise anything by using my regular username...next thing people say I'm only on a team because I help out on the website. So they don't know it's actually me. And even if they tried to find out, unless they hire some serious security experts, they'd only reach as far as a server in China or something."

    "Right...so how much of this developing software that you do is actually legal?"

    "About 85%. Can't tell you about the rest."

    "Oh."

    "Tell you what, I've got a couple of old matches saved on the laptop somewhere, from the old days when we were playing with Wayne and the other guys. I'll input the data and you guys can see for yourself how detailed I've made it. If you guys bring a flash drive I'll give you the program and you can fiddle around with it. But for a completed match you won't be able to input anything, all you'll have is the output tab."

    "Fair enough. Hey, where are we gonna take the kids, by the way? We've got some money we can spare in the account after equipment and administrative stuff and whatnot."

    The three of us pondered that question for some time. A few ideas were voiced, but none really seemed worth our while. After all, it had to be a place where WE would have fun also, and not just be glorified babysitters. Food was out, the team always ate free at any of Vishan's family's restaurants. Amusement parks were overrated, except DisneyWorld or Coney Island. Educational nonsense was definitely not on the cards.

    "I know," Scott eventually said, "I can talk to a guy, he's the head of entertainment where I work. If he agrees, maybe I can get them a tour of that section of our building. They'll get to test games that aren't even on the market yet, try out some cool virtual reality stuff, maybe even get to have input into software. Those guys are always wanting to know what the gaming community wants. I think it would be cool for them."

    "Actually that does sound cool. I'd love that. Let's kill some zombies and some aliens...or even better...some alien zombies!" I was excited, I'll say that. "Scottie, if you can get that for these kids, I personally will owe you one."

    "I'll remember that, you know."

    (EDITED x2)
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
    CerealKiller said thanks for this.
  10. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Chapter 14 - "If it's not KillToxin, it's not a kill"

    After the end of season team meeting came the end of season board meeting. But before I get into that, let me say that the kids had a blast on their trip to Scott's company. Scott could only be there for a few minutes, but Jaime and myself had a blast as well. We came on a day that they were doing motion capture for an upcoming game along the lines of Uncharted and Tomb Raider. They let us put on the suits and put us in front of the green screens. To see our stunts actually rendered in the game was priceless. Highlights include me doing a faceplant after dropping from a zipline (I was supposed to do a tuck-and-roll, which I can easily do on the cricket field but clearly not in a studio), Jaime executing a perfect backflip into a foam pit after jumping away from a bicycle, Eliza showing off her gymnastic skills by vaulting clean over an 8 foot wall (this girl never once touched that wall from a running start, she just jumped and swan-dived over it like it was nothing), Sean diving to take a bullet for Greg, amongst others. And then we got face-scanned and we were able to play as ourselves in a sort of Street Fighter-type game. Awesome. (I got my reputation back by winning that tournament...after my faceplant fiasco...hmph.)

    Did I mention we had fun?

    A couple of the kids were going to be graduating soon, and they actually were offered internship positions. I felt like a proud father. You could not wipe that smile off of my face for anything. Even recalling it now, I'm grinning ear to ear. Those kids weren't just any kids, they were MY kids. I'd given them a feeling of being part of a team, friendships, confidence, everything. Even Wilburforce (Wil)...he was so more open and I found out that he sings really great. I mean, after two years, they had come from being just a bunch of kids...to being close friends and being a team. They would help each other out with homework, they would hang out together, go to the movies as a team, just move as one. It wasn't a fairytale story, hey, we finished fifth out of nine this season. But they were happy, and that happiness was infectious.

    So it was with a feeling of happiness that I entered the board meeting. I nervously waved to Mr. Browne III, who only met my wave with the briefest nod. All of the regular team captains were there, and we exchanged pleasantries before taking our seats. It had been long enough that most of the other captains had forgiven me for my incident with Wayne. We met monthly, after all. I'm not sure that they had forgotten though, which may be why conversations were kept to a minimum. They were probably afraid to shake my hand too hard or for too long, lest I unleash THE BEAST on them. Hmph.

    Mr. Browne called the meeting to order and after the usual reading of the minutes and whatnot, it came to the topic of new stuff to discuss.

    "My dear nine team captains," he said calmly...to be honest I'm not sure I've ever heard this guy raise his voice, but when he spoke sternly you just knew it, "My wonderful captains, from the Atomizers to the Zingers, I thank you for such a wonderful and exciting season that we have just concluded."

    This guy sounded like the man who reads the eulogies on the radio every morning. I would bet money that he WAS the guy.

    "We have had our league running for some years now," he continued, "And I will say, that it is a small league. We have been attempting to get some...recognition...for this sport in the United States. Well, I have some good news."

    The "crowd" of nine captains was abuzz with discussion. Well, eight captains. I remained silent. They could discuss. It didn't matter to me. At the moment I was still on my high about having had these kids...my kids...so much happier than they were before. Whatever news he had could matter to me less. But he raised his hand and everyone else fell silent as he continued.

    "You will notice a new face sitting on the head table. I would like to introduce Mr. Gables, the head of marketing of KillToxin Pesticides."

    Mr. Gables was starting to get bald, something I was all too familiar with. I had made the decision to just be bald forever and shaved my head every two days as a rule. Mr. Gables, however, seemed to want to cling onto the last remnants of hair that he had, but the horseshoe bald pattern was not at all his style. He dressed impeccably, however, and his light gray suit impressed me. I did not realise I was subconsciously adjusting my own tie until I nearly choked myself.

    "Hello all," Mr. Gables started, "Thank you for the introduction, Mr. Browne. As you have said, I am the head of marketing of KillToxin Pestcides - 'If it's not KillToxin, it's not a Kill'...hahaha...ahem...anyways, we have been looking at the leagues in this state. There are a total of four T20 cricket leagues in the state, total. KillToxin, Inc. is currently in discussion with Mr. Browne here to take over full sponsorship of this league, and in fact all the leagues in the state. What that means is that we will provide your team with uniforms and a stipend for equipment. That uniform will feature our logo prominently on the front. We will be live streaming all of your matches online on your website. At the end of the season, the top two teams will compete in a tournament featuring the top two teams from the other leagues...so eight teams total...in a knockout format...and the winner of the tournament gets $25,000! All you have to agree upon, is that you and your team members will support and be available for advertising for our products. But I think the benefits outweigh the risks, huh guys?"

    Cue more discussion from the "crowd". But this time I was a part of it, saying a few choice swear words. And I raised my hand almost immediately. Mr. Browne nodded at me.

    "The board recognises Mr. Cupidore."

    "If the secretary of the board will refer to his documents, he will see that out of 15 named members of my team, 12 of them are under the age of 18. I am NOT going to allow my team to advocate a product or products designed for killing, even if it is insects and other pests. I'm not letting a 15 year old have their picture on an billboard saying, 'KillToxin - not a kill bleh bleh bleh'." I intentionally made the last part sound as idiotic as I possibly could.

    "It will be put to a vote, Mr. Cupidore, you're free to vote in the negative." Mr. Browne calmly replied.

    "Then my vote is no."

    It was eventually put to a vote indeed. 5 to 4 in favour of having KillToxin sponsor the next season and the eventual tournament. Yes, $25,000 was a lot of money. But enough to corrupt these kids? Hell no.

    The meeting continued for about a hour after that. But I didn't care. I pulled out my phone and watched videos of our motion capture experience a few days before (I won't lie...my faceplant was about the funniest thing EVER). I kept laughing inappropriately. Didn't care. F*** them who kept telling me to shut up.

    The other captains who voted no came up to me afterward and told me that I was right for standing up for what I believed in. I asked them why they voted no, after all they didn't exactly have a high school team to run. I got varying reasons, from things becoming too corporate, to we're just doing this for fun not for money, to I just didn't like the guy.

    As I left the meeting and loosened my tie, I was only thinking of one mission, though.

    Scottie, Jimmy, and me...we're gonna take this team to that tournament and win it. Just to show all these f***ers what a little ragtag bunch of kids can do.

    (EDITED x2)
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
    Yash. and CerealKiller thanked this.
  11. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Two updates tonight because I won't be able to update until November.

    Feedback please.

    (EDITED)
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
    Na Maloom Afraad said thanks for this.
  12. CerealKiller Staff Member

    CerealKiller
    Moderator Sportsbookie Fantasy Cricket Team PAK... West Coast Wildcats PlanetCricket Award Winner Islamabad
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    National Team:
    Domestic Team:
    Islamabad United (cricket), Juventus (football)
    Location:
    Germany
    It's great that you've got it this far. I'll definitely look up to this for my story. Keep going :thumbs
     
    qpeedore said thanks for this.
  13. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    You keep going with yours too.
     
  14. Yash. TPCL ² Management

    Yash.
    SRH... Royal Mavericks Melbourne Stars ENG.... QG India
    AKA:
    Hirani
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    National Team:
    Domestic Team:
    Sunrisers Hyderabad, Melbourne Stars, Quetta
    Location:
    Bareilly
    This is fricking awesome! A great read Qpee
     
  15. qpeedore SOTM Winner - July 2014

    Royal Mavericks
    AKA:
    Qpee
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    National Team:
    West Indies
    Domestic Team:
    Middlesex
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Chapter 15 - "What happened?"

    So it was said, and so it shall come to pass. KillToxin revamped the entire league. Hmph.

    The very first game of our next season saw us with players no longer in high school. A couple of the guys had graduated, and were looking to enter university in the next couple of months. But they kept their loyalty to our team, and they continued playing for us. I didn't know for sure if they would be able to continue on, however. A lot of players were able to balance studying and playing at the same time, but everyone was different, and we just did not know if we would have dropouts after a while. It took some discussion among the three of us, but we figured that we had a great thing going, so keep the same team going for as long as we could.

    A few months had passed since the announcement of KillToxin sponsoring the league, and while the school ground was definitely pesticide-free, I still was not 100% happy with the whole idea. However, we had a match to play. And I stepped out to check the pitch out. It had rained recently, one of those springtime showers that never seem to evaporate no matter what. The pitch was a bit wettish. A bit of grass. Hmm...a bowling pitch.

    "Tails," I called. And unfortunately for me, it landed on heads.

    "Bowling first," the opposition captain said, "All the best man, good game."

    We shook hands and I went back to the dugout to tell my team the outcome. Scott and Jaime were not happy, but accepted the decision. A couple of the kids were a bit more animated. As we quickly went onto the field to do a bit of final warmups, I spied one of the cameras that was recording the game for KillToxin. Nothing fancy, just a regular camcorder hooked up to a laptop. But then I looked around the field and saw that there were several others set up. The umpires were nearby, checking the ball (we could never afford a new ball for every match, so they accepted anything less than 60 overs old). I went up to them.

    "Hey, what's with all the cameras? I thought they were just recording from one angle?"

    One of the umpires replied, "Oh nah, they have a third umpire for runouts and stumpings now!"

    Wow. Okay. Guess we were hitting the big time.

    Eventually the match started. Michael and Sam opening the batting. We sat on the bench in the dugout, cheering them on. Michael had worked a lot on his timing over the past couple of years, and had the ability to clobber any bowler anywhere he wanted. But in that time we had taught him how to just dab the ball here and there for the singles and twos. He was an excellent opening batsman as a result.

    Sam was the guy you'd build an innings around. Opening the batting, keeping things ticking over, hitting the bad balls away. But just try to get this guy out. He didn't have much in terms of higher gears, but it allowed the others to just bat around him.

    They had taken us to 16 for none after 2 overs, not a bad start by any means. The Atomizers changed the bowler. Now, I knew that this guy was fast. I sent our twelfth man (woman), Eliza, onto the field with a pair of gloves and the message, "be careful". She ran off, gloves changed just as a courtesy, message delivered. (Eliza wasn't going to bat well on this pitch, just by the way. Nothing sexist or anything.)

    The bowler ran in. Sam ducked. The ball flew over his head. Half the crowd and all of our team yelled for a wide. Not given. Sam and Mike touched gloves in the middle of the pitch. Sam did a bit of gardening.

    The next ball was similar. Pitched in about the same area. Sam seemed to have expected to have similar bounce as the previous delivery. He ducked. But the ball did not get up as much as the previous one, and he ducked right into it. I heard the clatter of ball on helmet all the way from the dugout, and then as I jumped into the air, time seemed to slow down for me.

    I saw Sam fall to the ground, the wicketkeeper running toward him. The bowler running toward him. I saw the keeper pulling his helmet off and then waving us onto the field. I don't think I hit the ground yet before I started my legs in the running motion. By the time I got to him, all the fielders and the two umpires were around him.

    "MOVE ALL YOUR CAVERNOUS C**TS," I shouted, "LET ME GET TO HIM!" I started flinging my arms and throwing elbows in every direction that I could think of.

    Knowing how I can become violent and all, everyone parted. Scott, padded up still to come in at one down, and Jaime, followed me. Sam was not responding.

    "Sam...Sammy...Sammy my boy...come on come on come on...Sammy..." I was on the verge of tears at this point. Actually, I was on the verge of passing out. These were the kids...MY kids...and...oh, God...I started freaking out.

    "Call an ambulance," I vaguely heard someone say.

    "No," I then heard a calm voice reply, "No...an ambulance will take longer. Does anyone here have a pickup truck?" the voice said.

    "I do," another voice stated.

    "Good, we're going to take him to the hospital in the tray. Qpee, help me lift him."

    I was still in a daze. "Qpee, LIFT, damnit!" the voice said again. I couldn't. I think someone else did. Someone kept pushing me from behind and guiding me near to a car. I think they put him into the tray of a pickup truck, which then sped off. I stood there, clueless, my only memory being that ball hitting Sam in the head.

    "Come on, we've got you, Qpee..."

    Huh?

    "We've got you...come...sit...it's okay...relax..."

    Huh?

    I eventually regained my senses while sitting in the passenger seat of my own car. Scott was driving, Jaime was in the backseat.

    "Welcome to the world of the living, man," Jaime said, "We were about as worried about you as we were about Sammy."

    "Sammy," I said, "Hit in the head...what happened?"

    "So thank goodness Stuart was around for the match. He's graduated medical school now and he was able to check Sam out and said he needed to go to hospital ASAP. He kinda also said you needed to be seen as well. Dude...you freaked the hell out..."

    "I want to throw up."

    Scott smiled as he glanced across from the road to me. "It's YOUR car. Throw up all you want."

    "What about the match?"

    Scott replied, "A guy gets knocked unconscious, especially when said guy is 17 years old...nobody wants to play cricket or watch cricket anymore. The match was abandoned. Me and Jaime have spoken to the people in charge. Only the two captains can agree to abandon a match but we argued that this was extenuating circumstances. I was acting captain at that point. It's not a tie, not a draw, not a no result. The match simply did not happen. They will try to reschedule it at some point in time."

    "And Sam? Stuart say anything yet? Was it even Stuart?" I said.

    "Um...Qpee, so the match started around 2pm, right. Sam got hit around 3ish or so. What time do YOU think it is?"

    I looked outside of the window. It was dark. "Uhhh...7...?"

    "Qpee it's 11pm, and Sam...umm...look, here's what, you can spend the night by me. Jaime, if you don't mind I'd rather you sleep over as well. You can take the sofa bed, I'll take the couch, Qpee can take my bed. We've been randomly driving around the city until you woke up because Stuart didn't want that you wake up by me and be confused and get violent and all...so he figured if you wake up in your car it would be okay..."

    "I DEMAND TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON!"

    Scott slowed the car down and looked directly into my eyes. I could see them tearing up. I looked into the backseat at Jaime and he, too, was also crying.

    "Scott...what happened to Sammy?"

    Scott looked me directly in the eye, "Qpee, you'll need some sleep. I will wake you up when we have to go back to the hospital. But you need to sleep."

    (EDITED X2)
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017

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