[M.M.X.I.V. 155] Shorthanded

In less than twenty-four hours, there were two situations in which I was in a place with two sides, and the “other side” was shorthanded for a particular quorum.  There is actually an interesting parallel between them that is linked to two other (short) shorthanded stories that I have.

Yesterday, our 11th-seeded (out of about 25 teams) intramural Ultimate team, Runge-Kutters, competed in the playoff quarterfinals against 3-seed Sigma Chi.  As the time came to start the game, our team only had 6 players, which was one above the minimum to avoid a forfeit.  (The game is ordinarily played with 7 players.)  Sigma Chi only had five players.

However, this allowed us to have a permanent power play in the game, and a seventh on our team showed up such that we played 7-on-5 for the remainder of the game.  Despite the two-man advantage, they made us fight for our points, and we made quite a few errors.  We sneaked away with a 7-5 victory, but in the end, it’s simply Survive And Advance.  It’s the Kutters’ fourth consecutive season in the Final Four, in the franchise’s fourth year.

We played again today, vying for a berth to the championship game.  Despite us having 10 players today, our opponent, the underseeded* 7-seed Peanuts were our semifinals opponent.  They had an ARMY of athletic players.  Last year, we eliminated them in the quarterfinals.  They returned the favor this year–it was a point-for-point game, but we broke a 4-4 tie with a 3-1 run.  But we were held scoreless the rest of the game, as we had short-field turnovers after the “halftime,” a few minutes before the time cap came on as they were on a 2-0 run.  So at 7-7, it was Universe Point, and despite us receiving the disc and holding our destiny in our hands, we could not hold on to the disc, and a hammer pass to our end zone connected to end our season in painful fashion.

Today is שבועות (Shavuot), the Jewish Feast of Weeks, commemorating the Giving of the תורה (Torah), as well as first fruits.  For the first time, the two-and-a-half-year-old traditional-egalitarian (i.e. Conservative) מיניין שירת האגם (Minyan Shirat Ha’agam: Song of the Lake) organized a service for this holiday.  I signed up to read from the תורה, and prepped for it this morning (it was only 6 verses).  There was also an Orthodox service in the Hillel building, as there always is on the holidays.

The quorum in a Jewish service is 10 people–in Orthodox, those people must be men.  Without 10 people, many parts of the service, including the reading of the תורה, cannot be done.  When we got started in the egalitarian service, there were 7 people, and nobody had arrived yet for Orthodox.  By the time that we got to שחרית (Shacharit: the public-worship part of the morning service), we had only 9 people, and Orthodox was even further short-handed.  We proceeded with the morning service, and by the time we got to the point to proceed to the תורה service, we were still stuck on 9, as was Orthodox.

The Egalitarian service did יזכור (the memorial service), as I headed to Orthodox in order to fill them to the number ten-plus.  No other people came, which meant that the service finished as a combined Egalitarian remnant plus the Orthodox.  Ergo, I did not get to do the Reading that I had prepared this morning.  Oh well–that will sometimes happen.

With the moving to another side, this has happened a few times in שבת evening services at Northwestern Hillel.  I attend the Conservative service, but was pulled a few times to serve as a male placeholder until an expected tenth Orthodox person came to services.  Each of those times, I was able to finish the prayers in the Conservative service.

And to return to Ultimate to finish the post, in our first-round playoff game this year, the opposing team only had 4 players and had to forfeit at game time.  We lent a few of our players to their team, and played a 6-on-6 friendly, which did not count toward the tournament’s results.

It is nice having flexibility to shift to another team temporarily.

  • In Northwestern intramural sports, the regular season has pool play and a single-elimination playoff where (almost) every team from the regular season in good standing will qualify.  Three of the four semifinalists this season (Phat Bats: Return to Boomtown, Peanuts, and Runge-Kutters) all came from the same regular-season pool.  Last season, these three teams were seeded 1, 3, and 6 in the tournament as well, so I KNEW from the beginning of the season that our regular season pod was the proverbial Group of Death.  Among these three teams in pool play, Phat Bats went 2-0, Peanuts went 1-1, and we went 0-2, but lost the games by only 1 and 2 goals, respectively.  Unfortunately, the revenge factor could not get us past Peanuts this time.  Indeed, the championship game is Peanuts vs. Phat Bats.


Today is the one-hundred and fifty-fifth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes twenty-two weeks and one day.


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