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At the WCOC '01

Mon 12 Nov 2001 by mskala Tags used: ,
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Date: 13 Nov 2001 01:58:29 -0500

Summary: Intended to post this Nov 12, but beer and bad company intervened,
    and I spent the final hours of Monday watching Monty Python and smiling
    and nodding to much greater than the LD50 of other people's RPG
    anecdotes.

The World Counting Out Championships were held last week in Exeter, UK.
Opening ceremonies began Monday afternoon, with the national anthems of all
eight finalist countries, a selection of baton twirling and marching band
performances from local high schools, and so on.  Also included in the
ceremonies were speeches by the foreign ministers from Switzerland and
Canada, who (as the top-scoring nations not among the finalists) were
providing counters.  The ceremonies were followed by the traditional opening
count-out among the captains of the teams.  This would not directly count as
part of the tournament, but would determine the scheduling of matches for
Tuesday and Wednesday.
Australia counted out first, followed by the United Kingdom, placing them in
the Tuesday morning slot.  Iceland and Nigeria counted out next, landing the
coveted Tuesday afternoon slot.  Their players would have plenty of time to
sleep in on Tuesday morning, while still retaining a day of rest for the
winner before the gruelling semifinal count-outs on Thursday.  The remaining
four teams had to take Wednesday schedulings, counting out in the order
Italy, Japan, Venezuela, and Poland.  Poland won the scheduling count-out
(although to do so is of course somewhat undesirable, since it means
accepting the Wednesday afternoon slot) with a spare fist, the first time in
17 years for the scheduling count-out to be decided before the final fist.

Tuesday, the first day of the elimination rounds, dawned cold and foggy;
most commentators considered the weather to favour the host United Kingdom,
who had doubtless faced many such mornings during the regular season.  In a
pre-game interview, however, the Australian captain pooh-poohed the weather
factor, saying that this contest would mostly come down to which side had
had a better breakfast and "I think [the UK team's] kippers ponged a bit, if
you know what I mean"; and although the first two outs went to the same
Australian team member, driving her out early in the round, the Aussies
surged back and counted out all four British contestants with three spares,
to the steady "a zele ple schele" selected by the Swiss counter.

The Canadian counter for the afternoon event surprised everyone with an
unexpected twist to one of the old standards, choosing to "catch a beaver by
the toe" in a controversial patriotic display which upset the concentration
of both teams.  Nigeria recovered first (a vicious rumour circulated by some
of their opponents attributed the quick recovery to "Well, in Nigeria they
just don't know the difference between bunnies and beavers anyway") and
proceeded to systematically count out the Icelanders, winning with two spare
fists.

On Wednesday the weather got even worse, with fog in the morning, drizzle,
and a bitter wind.  The Italian and Japanese teams both had to bundle up for
the morning's count-out, but the counter (supplied again by Canada) warmed
them up with a rhyme about hot chocolate, and the match turned out to be an
exciting crowd-pleaser, decided in favour of Japan on the final fist.

Wednesday afternoon's Venezuela/Poland pairing was an unqualified massacre. 
Poland had had a strong regular season, whereas Team Venezuela had only just
managed to claw its way to the top of the (generally weak anyway) South
American conference, edging out Argentina by only one win. The Swiss
counter's best efforts at creative on-the-fly rhyming did nothing to improve
the crowd's response (indeed, her lines were uniformly too embarassing to
report), and half the seats were empty by end of the count-out.  To no-one's
surprise, Poland advanced to the next round with five spare fists.

Perhaps having learned from her countrywoman's mistake, the Swiss counter
selected for Thursday morning's Australia/Nigeria count-out stuck to a
purely conventional "eins, zwei, drei".  Although the match started out
well-balanced, with nobody leaving until the eighth fist, the Nigerian
players were unable to maintain their momentum, and lost the first three
players.  Australia won with three spares.

Eyebrows were raised by the afternoon counter's selection of "engine engine
number nine", a rhyme that some commentators suggested would hand the match
to Japan on the proverbial silver platter.  Indeed, the Japanese team seemed
in high spirits as the first three fists lost were Polish.  However, Team
Poland responded to the challenge in fine form, and after several close
counts, won the count-out with two spare fists.  The fans went to bed
Thursday night looking forward to a classic match-up in the final count.

The weather Friday was favourable, cool and clear with bright sunlight.
Taking a seat in the sold-out stadium, one could easily feel the enthusiasm
that makes counting out such a great sport.  The fans were roaring, the
hotdog and peanut vendors were doing a brisk business, and we all stood up
and cheered when Franois Mitterrand, former President of France, walked out
on the red carpet to count the honorary first beat.  It was a great moment.

Miterrand began a French rhyme, "am stram gram", and amid the cheering of
the crowd, the team of two regular counters continued it for the rest of the
count-out.  Poland drew first blood, counting out an Australian player on
only the fourth fist, and then remained strong throughout the match.  It was
nonetheless an exciting game, with the lead changing hands several times
before the final win, Poland with two spares.  In courtesy to their
opponents the Polish team omitted the usual victory lap, replacing it with a
toast drunk in some difficult-to-identify native concoction.  Sportsmanship
and comradery ruled the day, as should always be the case.

We polled some fans exiting the stadium, and seven out of thirteen said they
would probably consider watching International League counting out some time
next season, if it didn't conflict with _Enterprise_.  Of the six remaining,
four expressed concern about being able to find where they had parked, and
two seemed to think they had been watching soccer, and asked us which way to
go to sign up for the riots.  These days, that's a ringing endorsement for a
hugely underrated sport.

For all the latest scores, all the time, stay tuned to T.BSN.

Reference: http://kidslink.bo.cnr.it/cocomaro/ricercae.htm
-- 
Matthew Skala                        "Whenever a copyright law is to be made
mskala@ansuz.sooke.bc.ca              or altered, then the idiots assemble."
http://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/                                       - Mark Twain


Subject: Re: At the WCOC '01
Date: 13 Nov 2001 02:28:29 -0500

In article <9sqgal$cdo$1@diamond.ansuz.sooke.bc.ca>,
Matthew Skala <mskala@ansuz.sooke.bc.ca> wrote:
>count-out.  Poland drew first blood, counting out an Australian player on
>only the fourth fist, and then remained strong throughout the match.  It was
>nonetheless an exciting game, with the lead changing hands several times
>before the final win, Poland with two spares.  In courtesy to their

Typical T.BSN incomplete reporting above - they left out the most
interesting part of the story!  All serious fans attributed Australia's
poor performance in the final to the injury of their star player,
"Crocodile" Peter Farnsworth, on Thursday night.  He had to be withdrawn
and replaced by a substitute at the last minute, throwing off the balance
of the entire team.  In one of life's little ironies, Farnsworth
apparently got his toe caught in a ventilation grille during a pre-game
party.  His condition is listed as stable.
-- 
Matthew Skala                        "Whenever a copyright law is to be made
mskala@ansuz.sooke.bc.ca              or altered, then the idiots assemble."
http://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/                                       - Mark Twain

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