Friday, June 11, 2010

Overlords RFC, Part 6

"We keep writing songs. Why don't we just do a record?", I said to Spoiler one day.

"Yeah, totally", he said. "We'd have to think of a name, though".

A couple of days later, Spoiler and I sat eating in the kitchen. Outside in the sun, the kids were having a waterfight.

"I had an idea", I said. "Why don't we just call ourselves 'Overlords RFC'?"

"Because that's the name of our rugby team", said Spoiler.

"I know, but we can have a rock and roll band that's....also a rugby team", I said.

There was a pause. "That sounds really weird", Spoiler said finally.

"I know - but it's so weird it might work", I said, warming to the idea. "We write a bunch of songs, most of which have lyrics and themes drawn from rugby; and the band has colours like an actual rugby team, and we even have team, I mean band, jerseys. The rugby thing's not so explicit that it wouldn't get on radio, but it's there enough so that rugby people would pick up on it".

Spoiler shoved a hot dog into his mouth. "Like ah shed, shoundsh pretty weer'".

"What about Sum 41, or Run-DMC, or Blink 182? Those were pretty weird names. And what about 'Smashmouth'? That was a reference to Mike Ditka's Chicago Bears".

Well, the more we talked, the more Spoiler warmed up to the idea. And the next day, in a flash of inspiration, he sat down at the piano and came up with a very catchy verse and chorus, and a bunch of lyrics. I suggested the solo-bridge sequence and helped with the structure and a few lyrics, and all of a sudden, we had a song. It didn't have anything to do with rugby, really, but I reckoned we could figure that out later. The important thing was, it sounded like it could be on the radio. So we started to get excited. And Spoiler and I really started to get into character. Scottish rugby player character. Who also was in a rock band.

See, it was that week that the old Scottish guy next door had started shouting across the fence at our new puppy, which had provoked a million jokes, in Scottish accents, amongst Spoiler and my older kids and me. In fact, we hadn't been able to stop talking in Scottish accents since it happened.

So we began trying to come up with song ideas every day. Often the ideas were less about any song, and more calculated to just get more laughs out of the resentful, brusque, coarse, 85 year old Scottish guy alter-egos we had now fully adopted. We'd sit down with guitars, and then one of us would say something like, "Let's wrrrite a song about....about a guy who gets his face ****in' right bashed in on a rugby pitch and there's blood everywhere!", and "let's write a song about a rrrancid slag who won't come to her fella's rugby games!", and "what about one where a guy throws a deep-fried Mars Bar at the referee at Murrayfield for missing a call, and blasts his eye socket to smithereens?"

Quick digression here:

One night, in the midst of all that, we arranged for my oldest son to babysit, and Spoiler and I went down to Darcy's, a local pub, to hear some live music. I bumped into some of the Castaway Wanderers players I knew, began to chat, and got separated from Spoiler. When I finally wandered back to try to find him, I spotted him, holding a Budweiser, talking to a cute blonde girl.

I approached and said, "hey". Spoiler quickly pulled me aside and said into my ear, "Brudder - you gotta help me out on this. I told this chick we were Scottish rugby players from Aberdeen, and we're just over here for six months playing with CW. She's totally buying it. Just keep the accent going".

Not seeing much harm in that, I held out my hand to her. "Pleased to make yair acqueentance, missy", I said.

"Same here!", the blonde said, seemingly quite taken with the whole thing. "So amazing you guys are over here. Your brother was telling me all about where you guys live in Scotland, and all about your games" (Needless to say, Spoiler's never even been to Scotland, and had never picked up a rugby ball until eight or nine days earlier, and the only game either of us had ever been in at that point was touch rugby against the little McCue kids [who had taken to calling themselves 'The Hellcats'] at the park). "So awesome you guys play".

"Aye, it's great fun but o' course just a wee bit dangerous", I said.

"I love how you guys say 'wee'! It's more than a 'wee' bit dangerous anyway". She looked admiringly back at Spoiler.

"Rright then, lassie", he said, shooting me a quick "eye-smirk". "How about another pint then?"

Sadly for Spoiler, Blondie got around to sheepishly admitting a short while later that she was married and that she'd come to Darcy's with her husband, so that ended that...but the magical power of the schtick was not lost on either of us. And so it was that a few days later, Spoiler went back to White Rock for a day to meet up with V., an ex-girlfriend who had been trying to re-initiate their relationship. Spoiler called me the morning after, triumphant.

"Okay Brudder, last night I was hanging out with V. I told her upfront that there was no way I was getting back together with her, 'kay, but I dropped a couple of hints about how I might be into spending a bit of 'quality time' with her. SO BRUDDER CHECK THIS OUT! She was all curious about what I was doing over in Victoria, so I say, 'I've been playing a lot of rugby'. Brudder, she went into total shock, because she knows I've never played any sport! She was like totally dumbstruck. She was like, 'you - you - you play rugby now?'. I'm like, 'oh yeah, I'm on a team called the Overlords. That's why I can't stay over here very long. They need me back there for practice and our next game'. Then she's still dumbstruck, like she can hardly speak, and she's like, 'What - what - like - what, what teams do you play against?'. So Brudder, I go, 'Well, we play a lot of games against this team called...The Hellcats'. Brudder! Her head completely exploded! She was like, 'oh - my - God. I always knew you were amazing. But this just proves you can do anything! That is amazing!'. And brudder, lemme just tell you, after that it was ROGER WILCO ALL SYSTEMS GO shagfest! HA HA HA HA!".

Well, I'm not saying I condone his little maneuver, but I must admit I ended up choking with laughter at the thought of Spoiler, keeping a straight face, reporting that he was now on a rugby team which often played against their crosstown rivals, the Hellcats - and happening to omit the fact that it was touch rugby against a bunch of eight and nine year olds - and so completely blowing his ex's awestruck mind.

Where was I? Oh yes - the band that was a rugby team that was a band.

More later.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Will Bud Selig Do the Right Thing?

Will Bud Selig do the right thing? I think the answer to that question is another question: Why would he start now?

Bud Selig's refusal to allow any sort of video replay into the game he claims to love has once again been revealed to the entire planet as the supremely idiotic position it has always been. Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga tonight pitched a perfect game against the Cleveland Indians, except that first base umpire Jim Joyce erroneously called Jason Donald safe at first. Making it all the more nauseating is that it wasn't even close. Donald was clearly out, but once Joyce ruled, that was it, and Galarraga's perfect game - only the 21st in major league history - will, at least as of this writing, not be officially recorded as such.

What is the right thing to do? I think the answer is obvious. Just as baseball commissioner Ford Frick ruled in 1961 that Roger Maris's homerun record of 61 in a season be recorded as having been accomplished in 162 games (to distinguish it from Babe Ruth's previous record of 60 in just 154), Selig should decree that the history books record that Galarraga pitched a perfect game tonight. Furthermore, he should shut the hell up about Ernie Banks and Dizzy Dean, stop hazily dreaming about the past, and take baseball into the 21st century - which means utilizing video replay. It's simple - each team could have one challenge opportunity a game, or even a certain number per season. The NHL uses video replay. Rugby league uses video replay. Football uses video replay. Rugby union uses video replay. Why? To preserve the integrity of their game. That's what's so stupid about Selig's position on this: despite all his prattling about wanting to maintain "the integrity of the game" by keeping video replay out, it is precisely that integrity which is damaged when the outcomes of games are determined not by the players, but by refereeing errors. Duh.

But...why would Selig start caring about (as opposed to just talking about) "the integrity of the game" now? After all, he's the guy who turned a blind eye to steroid use for years, and in doing so, facilitated the most integrity-damaging saga in baseball since the Black Sox scandal of 1919. No - if Selig does the right thing in this case, it will be, first of all, a miracle; but second of all, prompted only by a vain concern about looking like an idiot, rather than an innate sense of decency or justice.

So hopefully, there will be enough of an outcry over this episode that Galarraga's marvelous performance tonight will be enshrined in the record books as the perfect game it was, rather than the one-hitter it was not. But...I'm not counting on it.

Time for a new commissioner - and video replay.