Now that KVKL has concluded its, Jesus, its 13th season?, it’s about time to look back on this glorious Year of the Sheep. And to do so for this entry, I decided to enlist the help of the league by asking one (relatively) simple question:
What do you think is/was the biggest surprise of the season?
Loaded question? Maybe. Good question? I don’t know. For a league that stays fairly consistent (I think I wrote about this, actually), this year had a handful of curveballs—from surprise successes to left-field failures to personnel changes, it’s been a helluva year. I received some four word answers, some insightful commentary, some fuck this I’m olds, and some brutally honest statements—a little bit of everything.
So. What’s the league think?
Some of the league was impressed with how teams have improved.
“Free State and Merchants of Death moving up the ranks and other teams like Los Matadores and Goats declining. Or the emergence of Channel 6 as a powerhouse.” – Ryan Gaines, Merchants of Death
“Channel 6, everything they did. So close to knocking off Happy Shirt. That, and that some 64-year-old lunatic who thinks he’s still 30 is trotting out onto the ball diamonds every single weekend.” – Rick McNeely, Jazzhaus
Others were perplexed by teams’ substandard performances.
“Surprising to me is the low winning records of a lot of our former powerhouse mid-level teams like Corksuckers, Liberty Hall, Wu-oost, Sacred Sword, Jazzhaus, etc. I think a lot of these teams are better than they look on paper. It’s just a matter of your whole team showing up every week, which we all know those troubles. These teams could make the tournament very interesting!” – Diana Garcia, Ghosts
“Mine personally is Love Garden. I figured they would have been a lot better. Still scary but not playing as a team and with no identify or direction.” Tyler, Happy Shirt
Some people just wanted to talk about beer.
Some were amazed at how fast the season went.
Some comments were, well, a little backhanded.
“To be honest I’m not crazy surprised by anything, but maybe Free State being better, or Sacred Sword being as bad as they have been, or all of the really close games” – Scott Stewart, Goats
Some focused on a rather specific game.
“For games, I think it’s easily Corksuckers beating Bagels.” – Geoff Wright, Rockets
“Bagels losing to Corksuckers. [. . .] A 7-seed beating a 1-seed will never happen again.” – James Wiggins, Thunderkicks
Some were just underwhelmed with their own performances
Some were entirely too true.
Some weren’t particularly surprised at all.
“Not that it’s really a surprise but probably Happy Shirt’s continued dominance.” – Adam Alldritt, Wu-oost
“Well I’ve thought about it for a bit, and it’s pretty tough because I don’t think there were a whole lot of huge surprises this year but I’ll say two things: There were no 0-10 teams for the first time in at least two years, and since you won’t say it, Merchants going on that run you’ve guys have had. (6-0?)” – Adam Patterson, Taco Tuesday
And a lot of people were surprised by the Mario Chalmersiz, specifically. Some of whom were quite succinct.
“Chalmersiz 3-0 in the 2 Pool” – Jake F., Love Garden
“Has to be how well Chalmersiz has performed. Although I wasn’t at the Game of the Week, beating KTC has to be the biggest upset of the season, IMO.” James Findley, Rockets
And some were named Geoff Wright.
“I think the Chalmersiz re-emerging as an elite team has been pretty significant. They were never bad, but had just an average year last season, going 6-4, with a couple of those losses not being particularly close. Obviously they stepped up in the tourney, upsetting the defending champs, and then baaarely losing to Red Lyon in a 10-inning quarterfinals game, so they finished strong. Still, it seemed their best days were behind them.
“This year they go 9-1, with some very strong wins in there, and may have their best team yet. The new players from last year are now key pieces, and new acquisition Colin adds a lot on both offense and defense. I was pretty vocal in saying that whichever team lost the Happy Shirt/KTC game would annihilate pool 2, but Chalmersiz proved me, and many others wrong. They’re legit contenders. Would they have the same record had they beat the Bagels and landed in pool 1? Maybe not, but . . . maybe.” – Geoff Wright, Rockets
And one of ‘em even plays for them.
Somebody was pretty analytical about all this kickball nonsense, too.
Not surprising, it’s been another kickass summer in KVKL. It seems notable that 7 of the 8 teams in the top 2 rank pools are the same as last year, with only Mario Chalmersiz moving up. There is a general sense that the league keeps getting better and deeper from a competition and skills perspective. However, what surprises me is that I don’t think any of the 8 teams in the top 2 rank pools are as good as they were last year, with the exception of Chalmersiz. This should make for another year of tournament upsets. The 3 pool is stronger overall than last season, but we had a ridiculously strong 4 pool last year, including Chalmersiz and Los Matadores, who produced some of the crazier upsets. Should be a fun tourney.” – Chris Ford, Happy Shirt
And a couple people had some incredibly poignant things to say.
“As someone who just joined the board, the most surprising thing has been how much work goes on behind the scene and how most people don’t even know what all we do. [. . .] Another thing that surprises me is the familiar faces that are disappearing from the league. That isn’t as much fun to talk about but it’s true.”” – Ben Wright, Bad News Bagels
And someone absolutely nailed it.