Joshua Judges Ruth: On the finer points of sportball


After a high-stakes game to secure a place in the regional championships, the Barons sportball team lost to the East-Western University Herons in their ninth game of the season. 

After a patriotic singing of the anthem, a man shouted, “Play ball!” and the players scrambled like a flock of pigeons seeking the same delectable and elusive french-fry: the sportball. Star Baron athlete Herb Joffrey was targeted immediately by the Herons, and before the first period was over, he had sustained an injury and was removed from the game, likely putting him out for the next seven seasons.  

A brief scuffle on the play-area afterward prompted the referee to shout at the players. This proved to be problematic for everyone until the coaches began to shout at the referee, which restored the former balance to the field. 

Things were touch and go for the next several minutes. The players furiously swung their racquets until suddenly Baron Michael Wend broke from the crowd and knocked the sportball into the designated scoring area. Hot dogs and nachos flew through the air as spectators began to chant “Go Sport!” Before the crowd had calmed down, another player scored yet again, putting the score at 30-love.  

However, due to a miscalculation in the opinion of the referee, the sport-point was deemed illegitimate, and the Herons were granted one penalty shot. The pitcher threw a hard curveball, but the Herons managed to nab it and toss it in the hole, putting the score instead at 7-3 right before the call for halftime. 

After a performance by the Baron Pep Band, who played notable songs such as “Uptown Funk” and “Te Deum,” the action began anew. Exhibiting some stunning net play, the Barons served, and the Herons ran with the sportball when, from out of a small cluster of trees, an ambush of two Barons spurred their horses onward and managed to hit the sportball back into friendly territory. When asked about the play, my roommate, herself an expert on sportball, noted that the athletes “looked really good in those shorts.” 

At the opening of the second half of the third two-sevenths, the Herons had caught up, and the score was tied at 91.7-91.7. As the contenders dribbled the sportball from goal area to goal area, spectators began to notice storm clouds approaching on the horizon. With only seven minutes left in the game, it became apparent that the game would be rained out.  

While the Barons seemed prepared to concede, the Herons kept up the fight. The bleachers were nearly empty when conditions became so horrendous that a tornado swept through and carried the sportball into the high heavens. The timer ticked down as members of both teams frantically attempted to develop a means of retrieving it. Yet, as the timer passed the five second mark, the sky opened and deposited the sportball conveniently past the Heron’s defensive player and into the scoring area.  

Victory! Or so it seemed until the Herons made an unprecedented move: they pulled out the rule book, citing the 1967 International Sportball Cup where a goal caused by “an act of God” was deemed illegal, granting those who were not of the divine elect 10 additional points.  

The final buzzer rang without glee as the Baron sportball team walked solemnly off the field, missing their final chance at the championship. However, not all was lost, as head coach Chet Fret noted.  

“Sportball is difficult because of the rules,” Fret said. “Because of a technicality, we lost, but the team played admirably and showed determination and skill. Barons or Herons, none of it matters as long the team had a good time.” 

Come out next week as Baron Sportballers face off against Templar College for a chance at winning the “Most Improved” slot.