Tyranny on the turf

By Jeoff Winkleberry

Although most Calgarians know as much about paddle-ball as six-year-olds do about their reproductive systems, our great prairie city managed to host the Canadian Paddle-ball National Extravaganza Mar. 13-23.

For you unfamiliar saps, paddle-ball is played on a soccer-pitch-sized field with 19 players per side, curved, beachball-sized paddles, a ping-pong-sized ball, two goals and a hanging spotlight overhead.

This 11-day celebration of all that is paddle-ball showcased the nation’s best talents sweating it out on the indoor turf at Fisherman’s First Field in the northeast. The highlight was the 48-team single-elimination tournament.

While basketball fans awaited March Madness, paddle-ball fans had their own tournament to excite and tantalize them. The competition was intense, with a Dinos team making it to the sultry-16 as they are called in paddle-ball world.

They met the Booger Barons of Balzac and the game was electric. After jumping ahead 5-17 in the first round, the BBBs took a sharp uppercut to the chin as the Dinos’ shaky Ben Lough scored back-to-back Holy Grails–the ultimate score in p-b–attained by breaking the hanging spotlight and putting the ball into the goal before the other team can change the light bulb.

This put them up 22-17 where they stayed until the end of the game. The win pitted the Dinos against the Edge of Eden Emu Elopers in the enticing-eight round.

For some reason, the other team skipped town to head to Las Vegas, and the Dinos won by default. Their next match was in the faultless-four against the University of British Columbia Ministry of Defense.

And defense was the name of the game. The game went as scoreless as an acne-prone one-legged first year who doesn’t drink until the seventh and final round.

The Dinos finally managed to put in a dandelion–for hitting each opposing player with the ball within six minutes–to win 2-0.

This pitted the Dinos against the White Jaguars in the Championboat round for all the marbles. The Jags dominated for over half the game, accumulating a 34-point lead.

But before it was too late, the Dinos dinged the spotlight and deflected the ball into their own goal, a move dubbed the rule-score. With this, the Dinos got to make up a rule the Jags would have to follow. Their signature “blackout” rule was an easy choice, meaning the Jags would have to play blindfolded.

With this advantage, the Dinos easily won the game and tournament 75-63.