We need to face up to the fact that we have been getting creamed on the floor lately. You can blame the match-ups, or the schedule, or the quality of the food we get on the road if you want to, but winners don't focus on blame, they focus on game.
Over our last five matches we're 1-4, and that's not going to get us into the Tournament. We had a promising lead against the Vampires, but then blew it when we let their lead scorer get loose. In the park against Grond and the Mercs, we never even got our head into the game. Then we lost to Foxbat -- let me say that again, FOXBAT --who's the joke of the league. We won out at the Terminal, but we played like we were in high school, so those characters must have been even bigger losers than we are. OmegaWorld....
I'm not going to give you a cutesy sports metaphor about OmegaWorld. I just don't feel like it with over 30 people dead.
These games are for keeps, and we can't even play like they were just basketball.
When I was a junior in high school, I played for a season under the worst coach I've ever had. It was one of the more depressing experiences I've had in my life. His name was Mr. Nonie, and thanks to his "leadership" we had a near-winless season, in spite of some major talent on the team. I transfered.
That was the coach's fault, but what's happing to us is our fault. We play like we belong on Mr. Nonie's team.
The new season starts today. We need teamwork, we need drill, and we need a solid playbook. At the end of the season, we don't want Dick Vitale saying we belong on his "Foxbat's Favorites" team.
We all need to work on the playbook. I have some preliminary thoughts, but I don't know you guys' powers as well as you know them yourself. Let's think about this, and see what we can put together.
The first thing is, we're pretty much always on defense. That's just the way it is in the superhero game. We play a kind of bastard form of the man-to-man defense, and that's it. Sometimes we would be better off in a zone, or in a box-and-four. When we do play man-to-man, we need to arrange batter matchups.
Some players are hard to hit: If it's 'cause they're small, then I matchup well. Otherwise Triple Forte with his mental powers or Hooligan with his accuracy are good choices. Or do you do some kind of area effect, Vanguard? At least you could wrap them up in your force wall. Who would be best? It should be their default role.
Some players are hard to hurt: My punch can be telliing, and I have my Flea Bite as well. Trauma's also a heavy hitter, and again TF's mental powers can be good. And of course Hooligan's "Head-butt of Justice" combined with his uncanny ability to observe a player's weak spot, makes him a natural. Again, who's best?
Some players hit too hard: But nobody is going to throw them out of the game for intentional fouling, unless it's us. I dodge pretty good. Vanguard, does your force field give you the highest defense on the team? If it does, given your slower speed, you would be the best person to go one-on-one with the heavy hitters, keeping them tangled up while someone else on the team goes for the ball. Hooligan often seems to end up with this role, and it's not working for him or the team.
Hooligan would shine on the fast break, when the other team has the ball and is driving for the basket ahead of us. He's fast, and could get there to slow them down and throw off their shot until the rest of us catch up.
Another good role for Hooligan would be floor fights -- finishing off the cripples who are down but not out. I'm not good for that. I hate hitting a man when he's down (with my strength I could hurt somebody), and usually my tiny fist would be more useful somewhere else anyway. Hooligan's speed would allow him to get a quick blow off against a downed foe without throwing off his game.
But those are both incidental to his main role: Point Guard. He's the best player we've got for keeping his eye on who might be in trouble, and getting there with a little extra whallop. His speed and flexibility should allow him to add whatever might be needed at a given point, and so he should hang back from the cliches and keep himself available. This means that the power forwards have to drive for the basket and draw the other team, so Hooligan can shoot a three-pointer, or get the ball to whoever is open.
I've kind of focused on Hooligan a little bit. I suppose it's because I'm naturally drawn to critiquing a sports motif.
But these are just examples. We need to put our heads together, and work up a playbook. And then we need to stick to it. In the last combat, the Idiot King made a fast break for the door, and Vanguard called for backup, but nobody came. I was the last man for that job, because I can't manuever in confined spaces and still deal out any damage, but I was elected by default, and was pretty useless when it came right down to it.
Basketball is a science, and it demands 110%. The superhero game is the same, only more so. We need default roles in fight, we need contingencies for villains with different goals and motivations, and we need to work the playbook until it becomes second nature. We need all this if we want a winning season, and we want a winning season.
Anyway, that's how I feel about it.