Twenty Teams, One Cup
By Peter Lewis
CORNAUX - It was a cold and misty morning as the orangemen from Zürich headed west, deep west into vineyard territory west of Biel. And as the dew gave way to curling wisps of evaporation, the skies turned a gentle shade of blue as the sun pierced the grey. Cornaux wasn't quite a one-horse town, we counted three, but that was about it. The oil refinery eclipsed the setting, only slightly tainted by the railroad shunting yards littered with freight wagons.
This was the setting for the sixth annual SwissCup Flag Football tournament. Twenty teams make the pilgrimage. And amongst the mid-fall bouquet of golden hues, this soccer field becomes a temporary shrine to four fields of hope for Switzerland's flag wannabes. Hosted by the Neuchâtel Knights, the almost all female utopic flag football state.
The Intruders have come prepared. Promises of glory bring guest QB Barringer to the fold. With an almost full roster of players, the gray and orange machine starts to warm and passes connect in an almost clockwork manner. Martinez's subtle body language and moves speaks volumes to the opposing offenses and Lewis Jr blitzes with the ferocity of an unleashed honey badger. The first three opponents, Barbarians, Knights and Hornets fall harmlessly to the side as Barringer's airborne assault gains him a 100% QB rating. Guay, Boroski, Srinivasan and main recipient of the pigskin for the day, Teubert, let the yards pile up. Sanchez adds an interception return for a TD. Martinez was a defensive wrecking ball one the field and an emergency personal trainer to overexerted Intruders on the sidelines.
Game four and the Luzern Pikes become the first challenge of the day. We meet a team whose young players have a good sense of skills matched with fresh legs and a fighting spirit that downs the Intruders for the first time. The highlight of the day came against the Pikes, a 40 yard dash from recent import player Sullivan hitting his stride along the left sideline leaving the opposing defense as just an insignificant blur.Kudos to the yellow and green newcomers who make it all the way to the final.
And then before the beer can flow freely, it's playoff time and the Intruders face a freshly assembled crew from Aargau boasting traditional fashion sense in white socks. These tackle players have their act together and keep the Intruders well covered and after a second half pick puts the game in their favor, there's just one last chance. Teubert's long pass is tipped into the end zone and Srinivasan's concentrated grab sparks a glimmer of hope. But the ensuing two-point conversion never finds a happy home in clutching fingers and the ball is pushed away by a cornerback. The game ends, as does the Intruders' tournament.
With temperatures starting to fall again, the sun dips in the western sky and 10 Intruders reflect on their season past. New faces, new friends and the omnipresent hope that next year will truly be our year. The year that the gods look down at our hallowed turf and synergize the team into more wins and fluid plays. And winter will let us recover to full health and spark our desire to kick ass one more time. Because that's what we do. Family.