RUSTY'S WRANGLERS AMATEUR KICKBALL CLUB


WRANGLERS RIDE TO BOSTON FOR WORLD KICKBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Wranglers are coming! The Wranglers are coming!

Paul Revere rode again last Friday night, folks, tearing through the streets of downtown Boston, warning the populace of our imminent arrival. But I guess that no one listened to his urgent cries, because Boston was not ready for our jelly. They were not ready for this. I guess someone forgot to arrange for a throng of paparazzi to mob us at the airport. A minor oversight we were willing to forgive. But then there was no one at our hotel either! Now I was starting to suspect that something just wasn’t right.

It turns out everyone was all jazzed up about these two teams from D.C.—Kick Asphalts and Gonzo—that all the pollsters predicted would battle it out for the crown. Pa-shaw! Neither of those stinkin’ teams even made it to the final!

Well, by the end of the weekend, of course, the Wranglers (and no one else) had photos in every major newspaper in Massachusetts and were featured in a documentary and some sort of webcast. The Boston press moguls apologized profusely for taking so long to see the Wrangler-orange light, and I let them off easy with my patented “What it will say on my tombstone” speech. It went something like this:

“When I lay down for my final dirt nap, it may say on my tombstone ‘Did not win a kickball world championship.’ But I’ll tell you what it will NOT say. It will not say: ‘Was not the media darling of every kickball league and tournament ever entered.’”

Now, I realize there were several double negatives (making them positives) in there, but the gist of it is that the Wranglers are nothing if not loved.

And actually, I can’t take credit for that speech. I ripped it off the motivational speech we overheard being given in earnest to Team Gonzo by their captain after they lost in the semifinals. And, really, there’s no better place to start in recapping the championship weekend than “The Dirt Nap Speech” by Popeye, the beanie-wearing captain of Team Gonzo. Let me set the scene:

Gonzo is one of those crazy-ass teams from D.C. who play kickball like it’s professional football and this is the Super Duper Bowl. They are as serious as a heart attack, they practice regularly and lift weights to improve their game, they bunt on nearly every kick, they intentionally walked one of our players, and when they were winning 9-0 they still complained to the ref that our pitcher was crossing the line. Popeye, aka The Longshoreman or Long-Short Man, is their captain and catcher. He’s extremely intense and inexplicably wears a small black ski cap perched on top of his head at all times. Gonzo beat us in the round robin and made it to the final four, where they got spelunked by a Ft. Lauderdale team called Fiasco United. Pops was beside himself, apparently in shock, and his team was despondent. So he gathered them ‘round, took a knee, and spoke these words:

“When I lay down for my final dirt nap, it may say on my tombstone: ‘Did not win a kickball world championship.’ But it will also say: ‘Did not give up.’ We may have lost today, but I will not give up on you guys. We’re gonna go back home, we’re gonna practice harder, and we’re gonna come back in ’08 and win it all!!”

That really happened. He really said it. We heard him. What’s even crazier is that no one on their team laughed or even snickered. The guy with the blown-out-Brillo-pad hair had tears in his eyes.

We lost to Gonzo in the first game, 9-0, after which our only consolation was that Ryno had tossed a fiery bean-out SMACK in the eye to get Popeye out at third. It was glorious! So we talked about that for a while, and then moved on to our second game of the round robin play against a Boston team called the Sofa King Nasty. We lost to them, too, but we really should have won because they were not better than us. But the third game, HOLY COW!, the third game!! We won! 7-6!! Yipppeeee!!

Unfortunately, although we remained optimistic about our chances, we were informed that one win just wasn’t enough for us to advance to the finals. In fact, the referee/WAKA staff guy was completely unequivocal when he told us: “You only won one game. You’re not going to advance to the finals.” But then he got really confused when I screamed, “You are a big jerk!” Even though I said “just kidding” right afterward.

And then it was our turn to have salty discharge trickle down our cheeks. Just kidding! We didn’t cry. We are not babies! We took it like men and women, plopped ourselves down on the sidelines and sent two of our peeps out to bring back pizza and beer. And there we sat for the rest of the afternoon, making hilarious comments at the expense of other players and fans. I love making hilarious comments at the expense of others!!

Nation, so many ridonkulous things happened between Friday August 31st and Monday September 3rd, that I’m just going to have to roll the highlight reel, courtesy of all the Wranglers in attendance who submitted their favorite moments of the weekend. Roll the tape…

• The real star of the weekend was the newest Wrangler on the block: PETER WU!! (Also known as Dan Martin or Marty Wu). He is one silly mo-fo, that Peter Wu, and a snappy ball player, too. He had a central role in most of the ridiculous things that happened that glorious weekend, which lead us all to sing (over and over again) “Can you Wu Wu Wu? Can you WOO wu wu wu?” Joy informed him that although at some point he may find the Wu Wu Wu song to be getting old, he would be wrong.

• Eileen was severely injured before the tournament even began. In fact, she was still at O’Hare airport. That Eileen is so darn dedicated that, when she was running a bit late and found that all the ‘up’ escalators were non-functioning and the line for the elevator was atrocious, she went ahead and attempted a run UP the ‘down’ escalator, perhaps unprecedented by an adult in an airport setting. Well, the elderly security guard was screaming, “I don’t want you to do that!” as onlookers both cheered and cursed her. She fell many times, but did not give up. Two men at the top caught her bags as she hurled them skyward in an effort to unencumber her bleeding legs and rally the cause. She finally made it to the top, rushed through security and down the hallway, only to find Joy and Dooley enjoying a leisurely dinner of hummus and pitas at the gate. Boarding would not take place for at least 15 minutes.
It should be noted that the fearless captain, T-Dizzy, spared all heroics and went ahead and straight up missed that flight. It’s a long story but someone had to take the dogs to my parents’ house.
It should also be noted that Joy was mad because she had purchased the hummus and pitas at the airport for approximately $9, while Dooley brought hers from home at far less cost.

The Wranglers got the loudest applause of any team at the opening ceremonies when T-Money sashayed onto the field with her trusty steed and cap guns a-flying to represent Chi-town and the Wranglers.

• The blown-out-Brillo-pad hair guy on Gonzo who kept saying, “I don’t want to be a whiner, but … [fill in blank]… the pitcher keeps crossing the line with his foot! that was really a strike! she left the base before the ball was kicked! my mother never loved me!” He was also the one who decided to intentionally walk Peter Wu, a clear case of racial profiling. That guy was a real D-bag.

Which brings me to the next highlight: The word D-bag. Bostonians love this turn of phrase, which is actually very gross, but somehow even I must agree that it seems the only way to accurately capture the true nature of many of these kickball-legends-in-their-own-minds. There were really just too many to count, although I will try to introduce to you at least the top 5 in this recap.

• The Wranglers found love and camaraderie with a fabulous Boston team called the Boston T-Baggers. They even have an amazing team koozy that says, “Don’t be a D-Bag, hug a T-Bag.” Joy says it was like finding her long-lost East Coast family that she never thought she had.


• Back to the DB Top 5:
The #1 D-Bag of the weekend has to be the coach/designated kicker on a team called DWAKP (Drinkers with a Kicking Problem), which eventually and unfortunately won the whole tournament. This guy was CLASSIC: gigantic beer belly hanging over his shorts, clipboard in hand, screaming instructions at all the players, constantly picking at his crotch, and the piece de resistance: a Ben-Gay patch securely plastered to his right calf the entire day. When his team made an admittedly amazing play in the semifinal, he charged toward the other team’s bench pumping his fists in the air and screaming, “That’s what I’m F#%*ING talkin’ about!!!” And another time he galloped a victory lap around his team shouting “F - Yeah!” DWAKP was ripe with that kind of guy only Florida seems able to really perfect: a little bit redneck, a little bit hoodlum, and a lot bit o’ trashy. DWAKP had several other top 5 D’s, including Nicky who yelled when they scored, “All Day! All Day! And All Night! All Night!” And then there was Fazzio, who wore the DWAKP signature bandana tied under the baseball cap and also scratched his junk all the time. It should be noted, however, that Joy wanted to marry the coach/designated kicker. Who needs cable when PBS is soooo good???


• The #2 D-Bag of the weekend does not have a real name, as far as we know. We called him simply “A-Rod,” because he thought it would be a great idea to scream, “I got it! I got it!” as he was running from 1st to 2nd base in an effort to call off our pitcher, The O.Z., from catching an infield fly. It actually worked, Dave stopped and looked behind him to see who was about to catch the ball, only to find it was this D-Bag from the other team trying to trick him! Fortunately, the Karma Police intervened, and because the idiot had stopped in his tracks to scream “I got it,” the fly ball bounced right off his knee, and he was OUT! A-Rod was an A-Wipe.

• On Friday night, Dooley learned that you can’t get a free drink, let alone free cover charge, at an Irish Pub called “Mr. Dooley’s” even if your last name is Dooley. However, if you’re America’s favorite crazy Asian without small bills, then you can get in for free!

• The Schubba committee was especially pleased when the question was asked: “Can you Wu Wu Wu?” And Eileen answered, emphatically, YES!

• The first sight upon entering the hotel was the famous Cisco of D.C. ’05 fame! Dooley was super excited and stepped up to the hotel bar and gazed into Cisco’s eyes! He remembered her from D.C., but sadly, he never hosted a t-shirt party or made any other steps toward leading a sillier life as prescribed by Dr. Dooley. (You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!) Later in the weekend, of course, our friend Cisco would attempt to get his Schubba on with our little Dooleybops. But alas, the love was unrequited and Cisco was last seen going up in the elevator at 1am with a considerable downgrade.

• The fact that we played Gonzo (Dooley still thinks that name is dirty, but she can't remember why), the No. 1 seeded team, first was God's way of telling the Wranglers to just try to make it through three games in one piece. Late in the game, Gonzo had an opportunity to show some chivalry and ease up, but they chose not to. But Karma Police came and got ‘em and they lost in the semifinal!

• The fact that we were seeded tenth in the entire nation while these other divisions have regular practices, designated kickers, and wear UnderArmour.

• Joy says we probably could have won that second game, but we’re just not always that great at playing more than one game a day. We're going to have to get stronger in this fall season...maybe that will be our version of practicing. It was actually very close until that beast of a kick into right field headed straight for Rick Brands as played by Martin the British guy, aka Ricky Martin. I mean, he's British. Despite not really knowing what kickball even IS, he gallantly chose to help the Wranglers out as a sub, but he just wasn't prepared for this introduction to kickballers on roids. He did not catch the ball, and it was a Grand Slam for the Sofa King Nasty.

• When the ball was coming straight to Margaret in the outfield and she knew it. She just kept saying “Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God,” or something like that before she actually caught the ball. Doug had a bunch of great catches at first base as did Ben in the field. All of our subs were awesome!

What probably inspired our subs (and everyone present) the most was our theme songs and the fact that Joy would stand behind each of our batters holding her iShower mini speakers high abover her head "Say Anything" style and the rest of us would try to sing the lyrics really loud from the bench. How can you not kick a homerun when Lloyd Dauber is behind you?

• Even though Katie Mary Margaret said that Boston pizza was bad, Joy found it to be smashingly yummy.

• In the semifinal game Gonzo versus Fiasco United (again...a team that calls themselves F.U.? D-bags.) The F.U. captain got hurt going into first base and it stopped the whole game for about 30 minutes. An ambulance was called, but then the guy said no, he didn’t want to go in the ambulance. He had to stay and watch his team!! Oh, the bravery!! What a real American Hero!! We also liked that the turquoise-shirted WAKA staff brought a tent over to shade the wounded. A nice touch. Well, their coach’s injury apparently inspired F.U. to beat Gonzo (eliciting the infamous "dirtnap" speech) and FU went to the finals. The WAKA staff brought the wounded FU coach over to the sidelines on a golf cart and parked it right in front of where the Wranglers were sitting, causing T-Dizzy to exclaim, "I don't want to be a whiner, but now I can't see!"

• The Saturday night afterparty was quite an affair at a swanky club across from Fenway. Margaret met a boyfriend who had French-rolled jeans just like in the 80s, and he was chivalrous enough to demonstrate his jean-rolling technique on her.

Trying to get a cab after that party was a dirty experience, since TWICE the ladies heard, "For 20 dollars, I"ll take you wherever you want to go, baby." Dirty.

• Cementing our friendship with Boston WAKA, which led to a game of “Buzz” with a guy who asked to be called "Gay Porn." When Wu Wu did not represent the Wranglers at Buzz to a standard pleasing to Eileen, she shouted at him, "WU!! You're Asian, you're supposed to be good with numbers."

• A rumor was circulated that if you ask for cold tea in Chinatown after 2am, you get beer. If you ask for hot tea, you get sake. Say what?! The Late-night Wranglers had to try out the theory. But then there was some business about we couldn't get "cold tea" because the security guard was an undercover cop who was a security guard when he wasn't a cop being an undercover security guard....SAY WHAT? Peter tried to prove his Chineseness, only to be told by the elders to go home and get some sleep.

On Sunday morning the whole posse went to the South Street Diner, a divey little place that was supposed to be delicious. The waiter was so mean at first, but then when he found out Dooley’s picture was in the paper he gave us some love and said she had nice legs. And he liked Joy’s hat. But he still hated Peter Wu, who for a 24-year-old, should have woken up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but instead wanted to sleep at the table. Manners, Wu, manners.

• The WAKA staff was also in the diner, and when they discovered our excellent press coverage, they went ga-ga over Dools, only first they had to wait til she came out of the crapper.

• Eileen and Joy then went off on a wild goose chase around Boston in search of the Boston Globe and Boston Herald to get more copies of Dooley’s fame. They went to 2 CVS, Borders, an Asian market, and 2 Seven-Elevens. Now, you know how Joy loves Slurpees, but when the first 7-11 didn't have the paper, she was magnanimous enough to NOT get one there because they didn't have what she wanted first and foremost: the paper. Well, when they got to the second 7-11 and there were multiple copies of the paper, she says she almost wanted to schubba the man for having them, and I think he knew she would, too...but more than that, she wanted a shower, so no 7-11 schubba. But she did get a gi-normous Hawaiian Punch slurpee... so everybody won.

• Mark from kickball.com was willing to give Joy $20 for that slurpee, but that didn't happen.

On Sunday night, Eileen achieved a lifetime goal of hers to have an extendable fork of her very own, which she later used on an unsuspecting woman at a Chinese restaurant.

• Dave got spilled on twice at the bar later, getting two free drinks in the process even though the first one barely spilled and the second one wasn't even his. Joy got residual spill from the second one, but nobody bought her a beer. Sad.

• The banging-body maker-outers at the Bell in Hand bar. Especially, the look the guy gave Dooley when he realized we were taking pictures of them.

• When the Boston T-bags asked for our best friend charms by buying us a round of shots. Miss Congeniality, take two.

• The fact that Dooley met and was wooed by Eddie of Kick Asphalts, a.k.a. the meditating pitcher of Nationals 05.

• Dooley showed amazing self-discipline when she turned down a shack-up with a Spiderman/Tobey Maguire lookalike, even though he offered her frozen pizza back at his place (oh, the Achilles heel!)

Playing credit card roulette at 4am meant that Eileen had to pay for the table's Chinese food.

• Meeting all the infamous players from the other teams (ie. The Meditator, Eddie from Kick Asphalt. Mike, the Globogym Guy (dude wearing the jockstrap on the outside of his uniform) All super nice people. Heck, Eddie even bought Dooley a drink. He said he was thinking of retiring after this year as he’s soooo old…30!!! But he decided to give it a go once he learned that Dooley is 33. She told him to eat more broccoli like she does, and he’d have at least 2 more good seasons in him.

• Going to a Bo-Sox game at Fenway Park. Cross that off your “Things to do before I croak” list.

Closing comments from DooleyBops: “I’m going to tell you straight up. I was a little concerned about Boston ’07. Only a fraction of the full Wrangler line up was mounting up. D.C. ’05 was so amazing. How could this compare? But then, I realized. Don’t compare, just let it be. Like children, they are all different and amazing. Once I let Boston be who she was supposed to be (I did this at the airport), she became our beautiful 2nd child. So different from D.C, and so precious too! I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, she was the cutest little baby ever, I already want a third child….VEGAS!”

Our FANS!

The Boston Herald LOVES the Wranglers....
So does The Globe...