“Alright everyone, gather ’round, gather ’round,” Millicent Yarborough called out as the players of the House Ocelot rough ball team finished their stretches. Millicent was a rather tall Vulpine with long ears and tawny fur. She was a former professional rough baller herself, having once played for the Warrenshire RC in the Nations League. “Tomorrow, as you all know, is the semi-final match against House Fennec. I don’t think I have ta remind any of you that House Fennec only lost one game this year. That bein’ to House Falcon.” The gathered players paid close attention to Millicent as she spoke, knowing full well the grand upset that House Falcon put on House Fennec.
It was considered an easy match for House Fennec, but they let their guard down, and House Falcon went onto take advantage of several miscues from their opponent.
“What House Falcon managed ta do, we’ve got ta try,” Millicent explained carefully. “We’ll be in tough, however, as House Fennec won’t be as over confident against us. Now, we’ll have a wee change o’ strategy and player set up, seein’ how our star striker won’t be with us.” Millicent didn’t need to mention anything else about the events regarding Jada. It was common knowledge now all over campus, and most likely into the village itself. “Hardy Maynard,” Millicent called out with her authoritative voice. Hardy stepped forward quickly, paying close attention. “You’re movin’ ta left inside wing. Yer stronger on the left side I’ve noticed, an’ maybe we can give House Fennec somethin’ ta think about in that area.” Hardy nodded firmly, smiling at the chance to be one of the main offensive rushers.
“Clarfax Billings,” she called out again. Clarfax responded in similar fashion to Hardy. “We’re movin’ you ta the striker position. You’ve got a knack for it, plus the opposition’ll have somethin’ new ta try an’ combat.” Again, Clarfax nodded firmly. “Aria, still jumper. I’ve yet ta see anyone able ta out wit you in the center circle.” Aria smiled with a nod. The jumper was a key position, especially when the match would begin. Jumpers usually set the tone of the match. “Mills, Pinkerton,” Millicent called out again. The two Felanus who had piloted Ocelot Six stepped forward. “I’m movin’ you from second line ta first line. You both will still be on defense, so no change there. As for the rest o’ the line up, no changes.” Millicent tucked a clipboard she was carrying under one arm and held a whistle close to her muzzle. “Alright, everyone. Let’s try a few practice scrums an’ set tone for your game play. This’ll be early practice so no full contact, understood?” The players nodded in reply and waited for the first whistle to blow.
Millicent let out a shrill whistle and the players began moving to their positions like a well oiled machine. Senia took up her position in goal, Aria to the center, Hardy on the left wing, Clarfax on the striker position, as Mills and Pinkerton took their positions on defense along with Margo Talon and Corporal Greta.
The team was quite confident and very professional in their actions. Everything went by the book, and often, Millicent would give several tips on how to better their play. It wasn’t uncommon, after all, for cadets to be offered positions with some of the professional leagues across Vulpinia. Rough Ball was, of course, a planetary past time. The most popular sport among both the Vulpine and Felanus races. It had a long history on the planet, one that held a great deal of tradition.
And I suppose, dear reader, that you might wish to learn something about this. Well then, let us pause as we look to the history and rules of the sport of rough ball.