Sunday, December 02, 2007

Over Already?

And we had been playing so well of late! But that is the nature of this lovely but often cruel game of bocce.

The day started off on a promising note. We held off the strong bashing skills of Balls Deep and won 7-5. We all rolled well. I was the weak link and I wasn't half bad. SHR placed every ball exactly where she wanted. Dani was very good throughout and Mitch dominated after the first frame.

Too bad the fun times didn't continue into the second game. A 7-1 spanking wasn't fun. But we weren't rolling that poorly. Balls Deep rolled really well. It seemed like every single time they needed to knock one of our balls out, they did.

Game 2 lineup
Erik and Mitch
SHR and Dani

Game 3
I replaced Dani. We took a quick 3-0 lead. And then the problems began.

Balls Deep were out of balls but they had the point. We had two balls left. If we could knock their closest ball out, we could get four points and win. However, there was plenty of space left to put up a two-spot and give Rod a commanding 5-0 lead. In our last game of the regular season, Erik faced a somewhat (but it was Game 2, not 3 and we already had the point) similar situation. This is how I described the play that followed from that game:

I especially loved Game 2 when we fell behind 3-0 before tying it 3-3. Then in the next frame, we had one point already scored with one ball left. The Mamalukes had a ball very close to our closest. But our other two balls were pretty close as well. Erik looked at Mitch and me and said, "I'm going to try something crazy here."

And he did. It was crazy good is what it was. Perhaps the best shot I've seen all season. With precision, he knocked the enemy ball clean out while keeping all four of our balls near the pallino. A four-spot! The end. Erik awarded himself the Hot Rod with his lovely last roll.

With visions of that amazing roll, Erik tried it again. This is what happened. Not quite what he had in mind. Oh well, we still had a ball left. Unfortunately, Mitch tried the exact same thing. Again, to no avail. Balls Deep were on the board.

This proved to be an important momentum shift. SHR and I gave up a point. Erik and Mitch gave up another and all of a sudden it was tied at 3.

No matter. I was happy that it was only 3-3. We were very lucky that they hadn't already put us away with our three straight frames of uninspired play. But their penchant for successful bashing had disappeared at just the right moment for us and we still had a chance.

Then we started taking it to them. SHR and I put up a point and then Erik and Mitch added two more points, powered by this Mitch roll.

We felt good with a 6-3 lead. Bring on the final 8! Not so fast there. Rod has had to learn many times not to put a notch in that ol' bedpost before actually bedding the lady or two or three. Speaking of loving each other, Balls Deep were way in love with each other during the match. Lots of PDA, boys with girls, boys with boys, girls with girls, any sort of combo available. Rod wasn't sure if he approved or not even though it seems like something Rod would be into. Rod was conflicted.

Henry found more interesting things about the bocce court than the game itself.
Anyway, back to the action ...

SHR and I tried to put it away but all of a sudden - two bad things began to occur.
1. Balls Deep's stellar rolling came back when they most needed it.
2. Our luck began to run out.

After my first good roll, they placed their ball right near the pallino. SHR and I had three straight rolls all end up in the same rut. Then Balls Deep did the same thing with their next two. I was hoping they would only end up with one point and it seemed that way even after they rolled their final ball. But after measuring, they were a little closer and got two points. Every single measuring moment in this match went against us.

It went back to Mitch and Erik and they had a very similar frame to the one SHR and I just rolled. They expended all of their balls with Balls Deep having three left. Only one more needed to get closer to end our season. It was nerve wracking. This is what happened.

We got lucky again. It came down to the final frame tied at 6.

Balls Deep started with an amazing amazing amazing roll. They put their ball right on the pallino deep deep deep. SHR and I spent our first three rolls trying to dislodge the two.

It came down to the last roll. Even if I got closer somehow, they still had three balls left. But I didn't care about that. I'd worry about it later.

I rolled an excellent shot. It hit their ball, it hit the pallino. For a brief moment, I thought we would live for another roll or two and force their hand.

But it wasn't meant to be. The rollback went their way and that was it.

Ouch. I can't believe we didn't even make it to the final weekend.
Final Record: 3-4
This was our first losing season since the first season - the last time we really had to find ourselves as the season went along. It was also the last season we didn't make it to at least the final 8.
With Dancey Dance On: 0-3
With Rock On: 3-1

This was the first time Team Rod didn't win at least one playoff game. But we were really coming together at the end of the regular season so we're not going to let one loss deter us. We'll be back in 2008, fighting trim, and ready to show off any new scarves and such that we happen to accrue over the holidays.