The Battle for Franchise Captaincy

With Matty Bells officially vacating his captaincy for the Winter 2014 season and two players wanting the spot, there was only one way to determine who should get it.


This Sunday, 12/8 @ 11 AM @ Cambridge Athletic Club, Damian Ruff and Noah Spaulding will head into Wall Ball Arena and only have themselves to blame if they emerge without the captaincy. The rules are going to be simple:

Game to 11 – Score by 1s – Win by 2 (straight to 15) – Loser’s out – Call your own Foul

Winner gets the highly valued Captaincy (with Marcel under contract and Leblanc’s Bird Rights) as well as $20. Why an additional $20 was bet on this I have no idea. I will be filming the SML Game 2 Finals prior to this more important match-up so will stick around with the iPad to get these shenanigans on the public record. Any and all are invited to come by and watch this unfold as well. I know Sam will be hurling insults from the balcony, safely assured of his captain spot for next season. He didn’t want to put his on the line, despite the fact that he thinks he’s the gym’s most improved player in 2013. No Sam, we don’t give you a prize for that.

But back to the more important matters, the all-encompassing battle to become a Franchise League captain. As a captain in this league, you need to put your heart and soul, not only into drafting players, but managing the salary cap, fleecing other captains in free agency and generally finding ways around the rules to make my life miserable. Both these guys will be great at it, but only one can be a captain for the Winter 2014 season!

Both players are supremely confident and think they’re going to roll to victory. Damian doesn’t even think he needs 2 point baskets to win

“I’m not going to give away my strategy but it doesn’t matter if threes count as 1 I’m obviously going to still take them. Also he may be taller than me but he is not stronger. I seem to remember the 1-on-1 tournament we had years ago won by my former teammate Adam Larkin. I got Larkin or Gerrity I should say on speed dial so I’ll be ready Sunday.”

Of course, bringing up Gerrity brings up the long, rich history of 1v1 battles at CAC basketball. Mixtape Turin started this by challenge John “The Young Republican” Edwards to a 1v1 battle after the other insulted his mom (I assume). Then it was the Gerrity/Tibbs feud of 2009, when he whooped me in Game 1 before I came out a couple months later half in the bag and skunked him on my way to redemption. I don’t think we have any of those on film (god I hope not), but in every one of those games, each guy was huffing and puffing about 20 seconds in. When asked how he’ll avoid getting run off the floor, Noah, of course, insulted his opponent.

“I’d be more scared if I was playing Sam or Matty or someone with limitless energy. That would be a marathon. Having the endurance to beat Ruff is like racing a one-legged man in a 5k. Not to mention when I get the ball, I plan to just back him down in slow motion, call fouls every time he reaches, and grind him down. I predict him throwing his hands up in the air a lot and complaining that I’m not playing “real basketball” or some nonsense.”

I asked Noah about Damian’s allusion to having a fill-in on standby. Wouldn’t Vladi, who thinks he’s the shit, gladly step-up and accept this challenge on Noah’s behalf? So why didn’t he think about using a proxy?

“Even in 1v1, Vladi would still somehow complain that he wasn’t getting the ball enough. Then he’d miss a bunch of threes and blame it the fact that he has new shoes, had a hard workout the day before, tweaked his ankle, etc. Vladi also refuses to play any defense, so even Ruff could score on him.”

I’ve obviously asked them each a few questions about this impending Battle of the Year. When asked if he was ready for the game, Noah’s response typified the ‘plant excuses before hand just in case’ crowd,

“I’ve been on a steady liquid diet of beer and leftover gravy for the past week, so I’m in peak condition for this matchup. Going to a party on Saturday night, but hopefully my hangover will be gone by 11AM.”

That won’t stop him from guaranteeing victory of course,

“I just couldn’t allow Ruff to take control of Matty’s team. Matty deserves better. I’m pretty confident that I’m going to win. I was tempted to let there be 3s (that count as 2) so that Ruff would settle for a bunch of deep shots, but then it becomes closer to a coinflip. I’ve seen him go 0-5 with three air balls and then follow that up with hitting 3 straight. Playing by 1s reduces the variance from my end.”

I seriously contemplated adding the stipulation that the loser of this game be banned from the message boards for a while, but neither guy took that well. Can you tell which guy gave which quote?

“You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy.” So… what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don’t have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.”

“I basically hate everyone now, tomorrow I may not. I shouldn’t say everyone but sometimes the message board can get intense especially if you don’t really know the person. If you look back at old posts, Kap and I use to really go at each others necks and it’s nothing like that anymore. Will [we] ever get to that point? I doubt it but only time will tell.”

Ok that was kind of obvious. Damain isn’t going to stop hating on the message boards any time soon and Noah isn’t going to stop trying to stir people up. It’s just not going to happen, we need to accept this and move on. It’s made all the worse by the fact that Damian is having a good year and he’s not shy about telling you.

“. 2013 was an ok year. For the most part every time I play I feel like my teams should be able to win a title. The losses stick with me a little longer than the wins but win or loss it’s all motivation for the next session.”

The #FranchiseLeague title was a bit surprising this year. In a bit of gotcha journalism, I had Gripp ask Terry about his team’s chances before the playoffs even started. On the balcony prior to round 1 Terry said, “We’re not winning tonight” and he meant! Four short weeks later and they’re the Champs! When informed of his teammates fatalistic attitude, D blew it off.

” It was all a big mirage and you guys fell for it. Not exactly, but we all knew deep down that we had the best team and were just fortunate enough to put it all together at the right time. There’s always going to be doubt off the court but anytime we stepped on the court “everyone” played hard especially in the playoffs. Our first round win was a huge confidence builder and it just steam rolled from there.”

I have no idea why he put “everyone” in quotations. I think he’s insinuating that Tristan and Rick didn’t give 110%.
Damian wouldn’t give a final score prediction, but when pressed, and by pressed I mean, unprompted, Noah said,

“Looking forward to taking him out without much of a sweat. I’m predicting 11-6.”

I’ve set the line at Damian (-3.5). I think the outside shots will be falling for him and he’ll know enough not to just give Noah open looks like I did during the #FranchiseLeague playoffs. Damian plays with a chip on his shoulder, he always thinks he’s getting screwed and will be playing hard from the outset. If he doesn’t wear himself out in the opening minutes I think he’ll take this. Noah’s awful baby hook can only fall so many times in one day, right? RIGHT?!?