Teaming Up Against the Odd Man Out

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Teaming Up Against the Odd Man Out

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual” -Vince Lombardi

Harry was the least cooperative team player the league had seen in years.  The guys had all been playing together for as long as they could remember.  They had been through it all.  The team had suffered bad coaches who expected the impossible from them.  The guys had seen sudden downpours bring a game to a standstill and shouting matches that drowned out their best efforts.  All in all, they had come to the agreement that they could only win if everyone played their best and stuck to their sections.  Harry had recently adopted the notion that the old way of thinking just wasn’t any fun.

Harry and Larry were in charge of a very small section of the playing field.  They were the last line of defense before the goalie.  Greg the Goalie never liked straying too far from his zone, so he relied heavily on Larry and Harry to complete his “Triangle of Blocking”.  Larry even had t-shirts made with the phrase in bright yellow letters, but so far no one had been seen wearing them.

Every time that Harry or Larry needed a little kick in the rear, Greg would coax them.  “Triangle of Blocking!” he yelled.  The reminder used to work like a charm.  However Harry had broken their nice little isosceles triangle of obstruction and strayed off on his own.

The blatant refusal to stay in formation wasn’t Harry’s only way of tearing the team apart.  Sometimes, at the most ridiculous moments, Harry would flip three hundred and sixty degrees in the air.  All would be quiet, there was nothing to focus on, and Harry’s boredom came to the forefront.  He’d spin in the air and finish right side up.  More than that, he wanted Larry to join in.  He insisted that it would only look right if the two of them flipped in the air together, maybe even slide off to one side a little bit.  Larry did his best to ignore his blocking partner.  He didn’t see how it added anything to their skill set or to the scoreboard if they goofed around.  Still, every now and then Larry would oblige and the two would twirl in the air together, their legs spinning over their heads and back towards the ground in a perfectly synchronized movement.  However Larry got no joy from the trick, the elation was solely Harry’s.

To make matters worse, Harry was just as self-centered when it was crunch time.  The ball would come down his corner of the playing field and Harry would be a good distance away messing around.  He had lost his focus as he aged.  When the ball wound up in front of him, Harry would whack at it with all his might.  He neglected to aim at all, instead putting all his energy into a power-shot.  The other team was starting to notice this and they responded appropriately.  Whenever the ball looked like it might wind up in Harry’s area, the opposing team simply waited for the rogue to act and they blocked his shot.  There was no need to scrimmage; they merely waited for the ball to be shot back into play.

The rest of the team started to feel annoyed with their maverick defensive player.  Everyone else wanted to play the game, give it their all, and maybe even win a few matches.  Harry only wanted to have fun.  The offensive squad grumbled the loudest.  They felt that all their effort was being wasted.  If they had control of the ball, then their team did great.  As soon as the other team started heading towards Harry’s side of the goal, they knew they were doomed.

ImageLarry tried to defend Harry.  He talked of all the years that they had played as a team.  Larry spoke of the abuse, the taunting, and the injuries that Harry had undergone in the decades that they had been playing together.  Even now, minus the scratches and stains on his uniform, Harry was in identical shape to when the team first started out.  Larry didn’t know how to play without Harry.  They were a set.  The rest of the team, from Greg the Goalie to the entire offense, fought to change Larry’s mind.  It would be painful, the group admitted, but there was only one option available to them.  Harry needed to be cut from the team.  The only question was how.

The team discussed and planned.  They certainly didn’t want to lose Larry too, but it seemed a possibility no matter what action they took.  The crew of tiny men hoped that their coach and play-maker would offer some wisdom on the procedure.  The group had never taken a foosball player off the metal rod before.  They feared it would be painful to watch and wondered if Larry fit on the new rod.  They didn’t even know where to look for a single foosball player; they’d only ever seen them in complete sets.  It was a dark day on the foosball table, but they found themselves with no choice.  They simply had to address the Harry-situation that they were in.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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