We don't often toss dynasty around in WAKA, especially considering the usual variety of winning teams each year. But I believe it is officially time for the Runs to claim that title. 7 seasons, 4 championships.
This season, 20 players, 10 males, 9 females, and a dog, set out to take back the trophy that slipped through their grasps last Fall. It would be a difficult journey, we all knew, but one that would bring together a lovable bunch of misfits for one cause. There would be adversity, battles, tears, hugs, and heartbreak. But also love, adventure, smiles, and movie style thumbs ups.
With a record of 7-0-1 heading into the playoffs, the Runs held onto the #1 seed. Interestingly, the team was 0-3 on seasons when they had the #1 seed, so it was time to get over this hump. The regular season, while winning, was marked with many close games. Week 1 they beat Ball So Hard 15-13, the next week barely beat out Unstoppaballs 9-6. Finally, in week 7, the team had their best wake up call, as they faced familiar foes in Boot By The Foot. Questionable costumes, pitching, catching, and decision making lead to a tie. After a few weeks of back to back games, the team seemed to be crumbling, but got a much needed bye week. During that week off, the team found a mentor, local hero Trent Tucker, to sit down and speak to the group. From 6am obstacle challenges in the rain, team rock climbing without ropes, trust falls, and pebble in the pond, it was obvious the team had come together.
By the time playoffs rolled around, there was a gleeful cheer in the air. Kegs and Eggs went smoothly, fireball was had by all, and the team was ready to take on any challenge they faced. The team was filled with veterans, all used to the strenuous battle about take place, but what about the new faces? Would the outfield be able to hold up under the extreme pressure? Had they had enough fireball?
Game 1 the Runs faced Ball So Hard, in a defensive showdown. After a quick stop, and 2 runs scored, they were off running. But a questionable call or two later, and all of a sudden it was 3-2, and things were looking bleak. But the defense stepped up in 3 straight innings, and solidified what would become the hardest win of the day. But now came the hardest part: the hour long break. As a coach, how do you manage the team, making sure they remain hydrated, loose, focused (but not too focused) and calm? The fireball was running low. Just then, a reflection hit my eye. The sun shining brightly into my face, it was hard to make out what it was. Another bottle! Thank God! This would be the reinvigorating shot the team needed.
Game 2 was against Boot By The Foot, and this time the team was ready. Early runs, and an imposing defense lead the charge, as 0 runs were given up. 4-0 and it was over before it started.
In the finals, the team was facing the Unstoppaballs. Could this be? The team that knocked the Runs out of the playoffs 1-0 en route to their own championship last year? A few murmurs from the crowd began asking, "will this be the end of the Runs?" And we said "NAY! Not today!"
The 1st inning was filled with madness. The teams lead off batter and pitcher, Tom, usually the sure footed, blasted another one of his signature kicks 8 feet forward, but was surprisingly slower than usual and was thrown out at 1st. With now 2 outs and Mickey at 1st, he slid face first into 2nd, but for some reason the next at bat, didn't slide into 3rd and was out for the 3rd out. The game plan of early runs had failed, the teams seasoned veterans had failed. All was lost.
What had began as an erupting crowd, all sporting their Texas orange and throwback poop brown shirts and jerseys, quieted quickly with that 3rd out. You could even see a little child crying as he put his sign down by his seat that read "Get Runs All Over Them", no doubt a clever play on words that kept him up late at night coming up with. This marked the first time all season that no runs were scored in the 1st inning. But alas, the rest of the team threw them on their backs. 2 more runs scored in the 2nd inning, and it was 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 3rd. After Megan had advanced the runners to 2nd and 3rd, there were 2 outs. Simon stepped up to the plate. He could feel the fire of Mickey's eyes staring down on him, knowing all the pressure was on his kick.
Just then, the little child from the bleachers, stood up and stepped past the massive crowd of fans. What began as just he, turned into the entire fanbase on their feet, doing the same motion:
Was it someone from above looking down on this team? We will never truly know. But there was something magical in that kick, as Simon sent it flying deep center, scoring 2 runs to make it 4-0. After the roaring of the fans settled down, we all knew it was over. By the final out, the score remained 4-0, and the Runs would claim the championship trophy once more.
Nobody knows what is to become of this team. After a long season, many are in need of rest and recovery time, off season surgeries, and possible retirement. Will they have it in them for one more push for fame next year? That all did not matter on this day. Because for on this day, the Uncontrollable Runs were champions once more.