Sydney Paoli Exists
Many, many years from now, there will come an evening where old men gather in a once-popular coffee shop, marred by politically-sprayed hashtags and outdated QR codes, to rest and recharge over strong whiskey, neat, downloaded with their last remaining carbon credit allowances.
"I'm proud to stand firm alongside each and every one of you" one will say, laying the remains of his shattered helmet beneath a flickering Touch Tunes that tauntingly emits his team's score and lack of highlights against three-hundred-peat league champion Sun Dogs Broomball, Inc.
The men will lay about, kindling their spirits with tales from a happier time, long ago. The Slushfest championship game. Dave "'s a Killer" Hovet snowblowing before a season opener. Chad Gunderson ricocheting a pre-season shot through his brewery window. But the men go quiet, sip from their cold glasses, and slowly close their eyes when one of them resurfaces the memory of the day in 2019 - "or was it 2020?" - that humankind made gods bleed. "Sydney Paoli" the men recall in unison.
Just before Monday night's matchup against Brett's Classy Ladies, Team Sundogs, who are more of an idea at this point, manifested themselves in the form of Becca Perry, Grant Thorfinnson, Marcus Bergstrom, Matt Stingum, Kyle Klivnik, and Jeff Bakke. The rosterless was again rendered rostered. The battleplane was set.
Brett's Classy Ladies, shouldering the hopes and fears of every man, woman, and child, fought toe-to-toe with the Sundogs' embodiment to a scoreless first half. Sticks, bodies, and entities clashed, and there was much gnashing of teeth. B'sCLs put up valiant shots on goal, highlighted by smart passing and hustle plays from sophomores Donnie Kristjanson, 2018 All Tournament Team awardee, and Julissa Johnson, who took home Most Underappreciated Player of the Week honors after a two-goal February 4th performance and zero website recognition. Despite the strong play from Brett's Classy Ladies, it was uncertain whether man could outlast his omnipresent foe.
With her team's morale waning, and B'sCLs' defenses wearing tensely thinner with each stop, the sophomore center upended titanic Marcus Bergstrom for control of a 50/50 ball, sending the Thompsonite crashing to the ice with great shockwaves throughout Town Square Arena. Those who bore witness to The Check immediately returned to their homes, singing praises, and proclaiming to the townspeople all of that which they had seen.
In a spurt of new life, the Classy Ladies rallied together for a gallant offensive attack, capped finally by a feisty Sawyer Rosendahl goal in heavy god-traffic for the game's sole score. The world rejoiced, and the Sundogs were enraged. When the final buzzer sounded, Brett's Classy Ladies had improved to 2-0, and the Sundogs had shapeshifted into a terabyte of cloud storage, vanishing into the ether. B'sCLs team skipper Brett Gilbraith vanished into Sled's.
"She was," the old man will some day say of Paoli, "our final hope."
It is uncertain if, how, or when the Sundogs will incarnate themselves for next week's matchup against Monday league bottom-feeder Team Butter Knives, for the revenge of the shadow deity is slow, and incalculable. The metaphysical antibeing fell to 0-2 and eleven points back in league play.
B'sCLs hold a second-place standing in Monday league play, and will face off against league-leader P.R.E.A.T. in the season's most highly-anticipated game. The rematch of 2018's Half Brothers Broomball League championship drops at 7pm, February 18th.
Broken Kneecap Award - Marcus Bergstrom
Yard Sale Award - Taylor Reynolds
Unsung Hero Award - Julissa Johnson (see above)