Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Lighthearted Sunday League

Because you're hungover and overweight.
  [vote for,

I've been playing football (soccer) with a group of friends every Sunday for about 5 years now. We used to get to a local pitch around noon, just as the Sunday-leaguers were finishing up, and we'd have a kick-about for a few hours before going for a well-earned drink in a local pub. Great days in the summer.

This year we decided to join a local league and see how we fared with other local teams. We signed up, arranged a kit and sponsor, and dived in.

All was well until mid-season. We weren't doing as well as we had hoped, and some of the team didn't take it well. The manager decided that we needed to train, so we started playing Saturday morning. When that didn't help, we started playing on astro-turf every Thursday evening. Since then we've started to win.

The problem is that this has come at the expense of a few of our, shall we say, less gifted players. A friend named John Silk (cool name) has been on the bench for the last 5 games, even though he was among the founding members of our little group. He's seen new, more skilled, players arrive and instantly find places in the team.

I have a big problem with this. The point of non-league football is so that people who enjoy the game have a chance to play for the shear joy. There is no requirement of skill, pace or fitness. We play because we love it.

I propose that a league be arranged just for these people. A league in which there are no prizes for 1st place. A league in which every player can be sure to play, with rules to ensure this.

We may not win trophies, we may not get scouted for Manchester United, but by God we will enjoy ourselves.


Edit - I just remembered why I wrote this. As usual with things that go through my head, they start with Bill Bryson.

On watching the basketball team of Dartmouth College.

One of the Dartmouth players was a 7-foot giant named Chris, who had all the attributes of greatness except, alas, an ability to play basketball. Ocassionally he would be put in for the last 15 or 20 seconds of a game. Invariably someone would pass him the ball and someone smaller would come and take it away. He would shake his head regretfully, then lope giraffe-like to the other end of the court. He was our favourite player.

By tradition, the last game of the season is parents' night, when parents fly in from all over to watch their sons play. Also by tradition, on the last home game the graduating seniors are put in to start.

This particular game was of no consequence, but news of that seemed not to have reached our lanky hero. He came on court with an intense psyched-up look. This was his first and last chance to shine.

The referee started the game. Chris ran up and down the court 4 or 5 times and then, to our dismay and his, was taken out and returned to the bench. He hadn't done a thing wrong - hadn't had a chance to do a thing wrong. He took his customary seat, cast his parents an apologetic look and watched the rest of the game through eyes welled with tears. Someone had forgotten to tell the coach that winning wasn't everything.

sambwiches, Mar 27 2003


       The only idea here is staring you in the face. Fire your manager and go back to losing games.
Worldgineer, Mar 27 2003

       Damn, blissie, I was hoping to sarcastically remark on one of your heavily-fishboned ideas as a retort, but you seem to have erased most of them. Instead, I will simply say 'I'm rubber, you're glue...' ;-)   

       World, not so simple. Our manager is the father of my girlfriend. Not a good idea.
sambwiches, Mar 27 2003

       Ha! I can see your problem. Present your point of view to him and perhaps he will not only agree, but respect you for your caring and thoutfull opinion.
Worldgineer, Mar 27 2003

       As a kid i loved playin g "goalie wag".No offside,no keeperand anybody could play anywhere.Ummm.Jumpers for goalposts.Enduring image isn't it.
sufc, Mar 27 2003

       He's... not that kind of guy. Not a very nice person, really. And most of the team don't care as long as they get to play. I think I may have to just gather up the less able and go back to Sunday morning kick-abouts. :-(
sambwiches, Mar 27 2003

       lol, sufc. Ironically, the owner of the snooker club that sponsors us is called Ron. I'm sure you can guess we call him Ron Manager every chance we get. Ever play guma?
sambwiches, Mar 27 2003

       Know whatcha mean sambwiches. Poisonally, I despise having no-talent-whatsoevers guaranteed play in organized play, when champagneships are an actual goal. However, My *and* crowd favo(u)rite at any HS basketball game in my school years was a guy named Marty, who went by the nic - "Shorty" - he was from the poor(er) side of town, *not* tall, had *very* long hair, could skateboard like hell and was underplayed at maybe a total of 4 minutes *max* - all season his senior year.
The chanting always started as a murmur by the time the 2nd half rolled around... Every game, we'd wait with baited breath - just stinking the gym up, ya know? - Regardless of how little time was left in the game, *if* Marty came in - the crowd went apeshit - screaming "Shorty! Shorty!" And when he took the only shot he had a chance for all year - he made it - * and* went not into the lockerrom - but clear out of the gym on shoulders, even though we'd already blown the other team out. Just friggin' beautiful. Enjoy your Austrian crescent for the rekindled memory.
thumbwax, Mar 27 2003

       [samb] - Sheffield is in Yorkshire, they'd shudder to hear them elves described as being in the North West. I thought this might be a mechanism for grading Sundays. You know, Sunday 8 February was a pretty good day, much better than Sunday 22 February.
PeterSilly, Mar 27 2003

       This already exists, crap players not giving a toss if they win or lose and not competing to win any trophies! Just watch the scottish premier league! (Rangers and Celtic excluded!)
MikeOliver, Mar 27 2003

       This is a subject very dear to my heart sambwiches, and one which I have experienced as both a player and a manager.

As a player, I played to a decent standard with a team of mates who took it in turns to sit out a game, so that the whole squad were involved throughout the season. We were good but, after a few promotions, some of the players were deemed not good enough anymore. Unfortunately, these were people who had founded the club, helped with the administration and turned out unfailingly for years. Some of the players who weren't 'cut' thought that this was pretty shabby treatment and left as well. End of an era. Why did it happen? Because we were in a league and you can't be sentimental about team selection if you want to win.

As a manager, I ran into a similar situation with a much lower standard team who were just a bunch of workmates who wanted to play football on a Sunday. In the first year we did really well, I rotated players for most of the season and we were close to promotion with a few games to go. And then we had some important games to play. The team was hyped up and eager to win the league, so I selected my best team for the last few games and some of my friends had to sit it out on the sidelines. Not a great way to spend your Sunday morning, in my opinion. We won promotion but the next season, because we were playing at a higher standard, I had to rely on my best players more often because we wanted to win. Eventually, the lesser players left, of course. Why did it happen? Because we were in a league and you can't be sentimental about team selection if you want to win.

These days I play cricket on a Sunday for a team that used to play in a league and were pretty good at it too. We left the league because it was no fun and, instead, got in contact with a number of other clubs and arranged to play friendlies with them. We've been doing this for over 10 years now and we all have a great time whilst still playing to win. Why? Because if you're not playing in a league you can play hard but you can also afford to lose, which means that everyone can have a decent amount of time in the game.

Moral: Don't bother with a league. Get together with some like-minded opponents and enjoy yourselves.
DrBob, Mar 27 2003

       sambman, I think this is your best idea, even if it may be baked.
beauxeault, Mar 27 2003

       // crap players not giving a toss if they win or lose and not competing to win any trophies! Just watch the scottish premier league! //
Poppycock, MikeOliver, poppycock of the highest order.
my face your, Mar 27 2003

       <Sigh>. Mike Mike Mike... Mikey. What *are* we going to do with you?
I wasn't making an argument, I was merely making it known that I disagree with your opinion. If I was arguing with you, you'd know about it, trust me.

       On the understanding that you aren't trolling - the understanding that you are, in fact, attempting to engage in the sort of cut-and-thrust badinage that we bakers toss about - I will ask you nicely - *nicely* - to please lurk, to please read some more of the ideas and annotations to get a better grasp of what is acceptable behaviour here and what is not.
This has been a public service message on behalf of the fluffier of the bakists. Now returning you to your scheduled programming.

       I like the idea. On one of the few occasions I have played five-a-side football, my lack of talent (which is, unfortunately, not made up for by my overabundance of enthusiasm - think "Carlton Palmer") led one of my own team mates to tackle me. The fucker.
my face your, Mar 27 2003

       Hah! lol at everything here since my last anno. Cheered me right up before training at 8.
sambwiches, Mar 27 2003

       my face, you're a professional arguer, if I recall correctly? And quite fluffy too, that much I do remember.
waugsqueke, Mar 27 2003

       Right on both counts, waugs. And the two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.
my face your, Mar 27 2003

       I live in Sheffield and I am shuddering at the thought of been discribed as in the north west.
sufc, Mar 27 2003

       Hey, its only about 20 miles or so from my house and I'm firmly in the NW. Fair enough, you can be Yorkshire boy :-)
sambwiches, Mar 27 2003

       Yorkshire born.Yorkshire bred.Thick int arm.Thick int 'ead
sufc, Mar 27 2003

       Does anyone know where I can find a good detailed map of Great Britain online? (I'll look myself if there are no suggestions.)
waugsqueke, Mar 27 2003

       [miasere], that is a great, great idea. :-)
sambwiches, Mar 27 2003

       (My Face Your.)Carlton Palmer used to play for Sheffield Wednesday Nil and is still seen as a folk hero by many of their fans.I have to live in the same city as them.
sufc, Mar 28 2003

       sufc, he was once described in roughly the following terms - "he covers every blade of grass on the pitch, but his second touch is often a tackle."
my face your, Mar 28 2003

       If football was meant to be an art, God wouldn't have invented Carlton Palmer.'
sufc, Mar 28 2003

       well, over here in the states, this idea is rather baked. most colleges (universities) have intramural sports teams at two levels: high and low intensity. the high intensity teams play to win and the low intensity teams play to have fun. they're in separate leagues, and teams can elect to switch leagues at any time.   

       the tricky bit is when you've got a low intensity team that is coincidentally quite good...
urbanmatador, Mar 30 2003

       Likewise, not such a deal here. It's ok to suck, as long as there's beer to drink.
roby, Mar 30 2003

       Update - I suggested to the lads that a few after-pub games may be fun. I got strange looks in return.   

       Never mind, miasere. I thought it was a fantastic idea.
sambwiches, Mar 30 2003

       What you're suggesting is well baked. It's called cricket.
git, Jun 12 2003

       You must be baking joking. Cricket - thats for cissies.
The Kat, Jun 13 2003

       (long, heavy sigh)- ah, the uncivilized tyke...the Romans obviously didn't visit his country...
git, Jun 14 2003

       This Dartmouth player sounds a lot like me in high school. I, too, made the team. Eventually I realized I was a liability and quit.   

       All this informal footy sounds like a great reason to move to Great Britain.   

       [miasere], what a great plan. You should set one up.
disbomber, Apr 03 2005


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