The Showdown: LB/OJ Part 2
I gotta give it to him; the Old Dog’s still got a little game…
Our trash talking continued via email Thursday, and I got out to Rising Sand a couple hours before gametime for my Chainsaw Warmup: a dynamic, functional-training type regimen featuring precarious rooftop perches and extended overhead cuts. Wow, I thought to myself as a large limb crashed down in front of my face, ít’s a good thing Fanni isn’t here to see this…
Just then, Oren’s truck pulled in, and he approached slowly as I shut off the chainsaw. “Don’t work too hard.” he remarked, behind a subtle scowl.
“I’m good man; I’m just warming up.” I replied. “You feeling spry today?”
“Yeah,” he responded; blue eyes icy and grim.
With that, we put our rivalry on hold for the moment and moved on to the business-at-hand: cutting down a broken limb hanging dangerously over the top of our pack shed, without damaging the roof. One roof climb, pickup truck, rope-tie and saw-cut later, the huge limb layed benevolently on the ground; a surprisingly successful job, given Oren and my history of working together.
Then we moved to our second deadly task: lifting a 1,000 pound walk-in cooler off of Trailer 1, and onto Trailer 2, with three people and no skidsteer or forklift. We circled the cooler skeptically for a handful of minutes, scratching our heads and stroking our beards. “Well, we could use the bottle jacks you bought for the pack-shed project,” I suggested. A couple hours of drilling, jacking, positioning and repositioning later, Trailer 1 was removed, and the cooler hung suspended in the air like history’s most unimaginative spaceship — ready for the insertion of Trailer 2. Another surprising success.
But that was it for the pleasantries, and I passed Oren on my way out of the driveway, heading for the game. “Do I know you?” he asked.
To the field we went. Oren and Polly were characteristically late, and by the time they showed up, we’d jumped out to a 2-1 advantage; rolling steady, and getting into a nice groove, as their offense sputtered. That all changed when the Grandmaster jogged onto the field. His first possession began and ended with the most impressive huck I’ve seen this season, landing effortlessly into the waiting arms of his receiver in the endzone. Next possession: another huck; another touchdown. Dammit, I thought from the sideline, I gotta get back in the game.
I did, and from my safety position in the zone, knocked down their next deep attempt, setting us up for an offensive possession, and eventual score. Back and forth the game went, as we traded points.
But from his post in the backfield, the Grandmaster orchestrated his offense like a tan Aaron Rodgers: controlling the tempo and marching up the field with frustrating ease. They pulled ahead slowly as we fumbled and fluttered. Possession after possession, my cuts were interrupted by the shouts of “Turn!” as my teammates dropped disks, forfeiting our possessions and turning it over repeatedly to Oren and Company. On consecutive possessions, I sprinted to to recover from my teammates’ mistakes: tracking Oren’s star receivers as they streaked towards the endzone, but coming up a split-second short as his hucks found their mark, turning our demoralizing mistakes into points for Squad Blue.
We started our slow crawl back from defeat, scoring two consecutive points late in the game. With minutes left, however, our momentum was squashed — and the dagger inserted — by none other than Polly Dalton: the X-Factor. All game she had been lounging deep down-field — a clever decoy drawing our defenders deeper and opening up the shallows for her teammates. On the final point, however, the disk fannagled its way through the tangle of arms, bodies and fingers, to Polly, waiting at the front line of the endzone. The frisbee bobbled once, and fluttered in slow motion towards the turf. She fell dramatically to her knees, swooping up the frisbee just as it grazed the tips of the blades of grass below. Game Over. Head hung, I made my way through the line to congratulate the victors, and shake hands with my arch-nemesis: Oren Jakobsen.
I’d love to try to turn this into a feel-good story about the teamwork we employed on the farm projects, and the way we put the game behind us, enjoying ice cream and berries in Oren and Polly’s living room afterwards. But that’s not what this is. This is about winning and losing, and while we came up short this time, the playoffs are just around the corner. Throw White and the Seven Deadly Hucks will rise again, and Oren Jakobsen had better be ready when we do.