For those who’ve been following this blog since its inception, I decided to incorporate a game called shotball, whose rules I initially wrote up back in 2009 when I was eighteen years old, pretty much in protest of NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell’s increased crackdown on defenses in the NFL.
So, before Lord of Columbia was even thought of, I designed rules to a new game and pretty much forgot about it throughout my college days when I started writing the first drafts of the series way back in 2010 before shelving the project and writing about it only occasionally between late-2012 and July 2015, when I decided to turn the work into a project.
So, along with the highlights of a game between Cain’s Santos Knights and their top rival, the Leistung Monarchs, I first want to give a little bit of a backdrop on the highlights of this particular game.
1) What you’re about to read has absolutely zero connection to Lord of Columbia’s plot. This actually doesn’t even take place in a perma-free prequel book I’m currently working on as well, which basically outlines how the main characters in the series met; and the prequel itself has little to do with the actual series; it’s more of a sports novel than it is urban fantasy.
2) There are zero spoilers in this except for the Santos-Leistung sports rivalry, which again has nothing to do with Lord of Columbia’s overall plot.
I decided to include shotball in Northern Knights as a way to ease the reader into the darkness of this urban fantasy series, to provide an entertaining break for my readers before really diving into some more serious aspects, which really kicks off not long after the shotball scenes are finished.
So, who’s ready for this little highlight reel?
It’s modeled after NFL Prime Time, so if you’re one to tune into Prime Time, you know exactly where I’m headed with this. And when I say Prime Time I mean Prime Time, not that little excuse for the timeslot that one sees on NBC’s Football Night in America (really, NBC?).
Alright, let’s get to the highlights, where much of this is dialogue.
Santos-Leistung, Week I
“We turn to the highlights from Week One on SSL Saturday,” Chris Jackson said, “starting with one of the most intense matchups in the League. The Santos Knights playing host to the Leistung Monarchs from Kettlewell Stadium.
“The sun was setting early this Saturday evening, so everyone knew the autumn wind was on its way. Jac Baker, leading Leistung once more for his senior season came out firing—and he was red hot.
“Baker to McCormick, Haney, a drop kick into the net for an early score past Santos’ freshman goalkeeper Derek Gray, three-nothing, the Monarchs.”
“Yeah,” analyst Tom James said, “and, Chris this is just a little shake and bake play right here. Hurvin McCormick happened to see Henry Haney distract wanderer Amy Still just long enough, to get a step in front of her to have an open look at the net and put it in for the score.”
“Gray to Gretels, to the opposite defender, Silos Malloy, but it’s going to be intercepted by freshman center, Scotty ‘Lightning’ Volt, who passes to the attacker McCormick again, and he could—go—all—the—way—and he gets it, another drop kick past Gray, Monarchs in business, and we’ll go to the sideline anaylst for the game, Stuart Sager.”
“Well, it’s a little you shake here, I’ll break here I’ll take the rock, I got it, you don’t, and meet you in the net for three-pointer,” Stuart said. “Well played by Hurvin McCormick.”
“After a quick one-pointer score for Santos by freshman attacker, Lira Ross,” Jackson said, “Leistung gets the ball back again with four minutes to go in the half. The pitch from the defenders is to Leistung wanderer Cai ‘Cross the Field’ Crossley and it’s nothing, she gets nothing, but overruns Bella ‘Sun’ Raze in the end and throws a bullet to freshman Robby Patterson. Patterson gives up to Haney who goes in for the quick score, and it’s 10 to 1 at the half.”
“And this time it’s Santos defender Malloy who’s completely faked out,” Stuart Sager said, “Silos left saying, ‘Henry, Henry, I can’t see you, oh there you are, you’re in the attacking zone again.’”
“At the half,” Jackson said, “look at these numbers from Jac Baker, nineteen of twenty-two for over two-hundred yards to seven different centers and attackers.
“In the second half, Leistung coach Billy Noll says, ‘Let’s really take it to this young Santos team that went winless the year before,’ and his defenders do the trick. An errant pass to Lira Ross ends up in the hands of—twenty-one-years young, Evie-May Mohammed, and she takes the ball into the center zone with an excellent set up and throw to Scotty ‘Lightning’ Volt, setting up another drop kick, and it’s over, it’s all over, Billy Noll, Jac Baker, and the Monarchs, they’re going to win this one over the Knights, for the umpteenth time in the past seventeen seasons.
“But in the stands, the always loyal Santos fans refused to see a fat lady sing—no one wants to see her singing anyway.
“Blaze Gretels receives the pass from Derek Gray and finds Cain Riscattare. And Riscattare goes to work, finding his cousin, Micah deep downfield. Micah passes to Lira Ross and she drop kicks the ball in for three, but they really don’t have a shot against this older, more experienced Leistung team.”
“Yeah, Chris, and the rules do state that once you step out of bounds you become ineligible until the ball is blown dead,” Tom James said, “but you can see the officials looking the other way, and Ross scores three on the drop kick, since the officials didn’t see it.”
“Santos’ coach Hue Haley says, “Well, we really don’t have a shot, so let’s have some fun and evoke a press, but it’s picked off. Wanderer Amy Still gets the ball and she throws it right into the net, the Monarchs’ lead is now cut to eight, leading thirteen to five.”
“And what Still simply does here, Chris, is sacrifice the body to make a play, which goes in for only a point,” Tom James said. “But Santos will claw back in any way they can.”
“The next throw is one Jac Baker wanted back; a tipped pass that ends up in the hands of—freshman Cain Riscattare. On the ensuing throw-in Cain finds Lira and she bicycle-kicks the ball in for a score, worth two points from the kick, and the score’s now thirteen to seven. The Santos Knights score six unanswered, they feel they have a shot.
“Early in the fourth Leistung has a chance to put it away but an open drop kick is blocked by Blaze Gretels, who came out of nowhere, where opposite Santos defender Silos Malloy picks up the live ball and chucks it to center Bella ‘Sun’ Raze. Raze hits Riscattare, who’s going for the attacking zone and with a spectacular catch from Micah Riscattare, he freezes the goaltender and drops it to Amy Still, who finishes the job on a technical drop kick. On the Leistung sideline, Jac’s got to be wondering, ‘no, this can’t be.’
“With Leistung back in possession and the score now thirteen to ten, Scotty ‘Lightning’ Volt breaks free with only Santos’ keeper Derek Gray to beat, but he bobbles the ball and—it’s a fumble! Blaze Gretels and Silos Malloy dive on the loose ball and it’s in Santos’ possession.
“With twenty seconds left, Cain Riscattare, whose zone with his cousin Micah all half long continues. Micah drop kicks the ball in and we’re tied at thirteen—is this really happening? The young Santos Knights are looking to beat Leistung for the first time in over three seasons, and we’re going into overtime with the Leistung Monarchs stunned—they do win the coin toss.
“The Monarchs come out in ball control, looking to gas the young Santos Knights who are currently riding a seventeen-game winless streak dating back to two seasons ago, but the defenders sandwich Scotty ‘Lightning’ Volt and force the ball from him.
“However, a bobbled catch by Still gives Leistung the ball back. With under a minute left, Jac Baker throws his third pick of the game, and Cain Riscattare’s got it—holding onto McCormick just long enough to create a mismatch—and there he goes, sprinting down the sideline, but an illegal block in the back calls Riscattare’s interception back to midfield.
“With seven seconds left, Riscattare heaves one down to Micah, but the ensuing try is blocked and this one is going to end in a tie, but one of the greatest comebacks and moral victories in the history of Santos Complex, which breaks the team’s losing streak, in a game that will be remembered throughout the ages and SSL Lore.
“Santos has never had a fresh group of guys and girls work so hard for respect in the SSL since Summit University became isolated from the Collegiate Athletic Association due to the split of Columbia. Santos stalemates with Leistung, thirteen to thirteen. At halftime, Bella Raze, one of the captains last season came up to the Riscattare cousins and said, ‘Guys, you did this before in high school, go do it again in your college debut.’
“The cousins said, ‘Fine with us,’ in reference to Tesla High’s epic comeback in high school that sparked an overtime win against St. Martins down in the South Columbian Outlands.”
A Little Break
Yes, a little break and a little distraction indeed, as I look to further develop a pattern for Lord of Columbia Series, where I talk about the books, characters, and most recently, about the real-life influences surrounding the Series, many of which are dark and somewhat disturbing.
So, the pattern will basically be a few dark stories here, and some more lighthearted ones here, which also goes for influences plus overall themes. The darkness of the entire Syrian conflict and its relation to Raven’s Flock, which will be broken up into two more parts, is another reason behind this post as well; to break up the darkness and add a little bit of light to this dark tale.