Going back to Rocket Fox, I had originally left off at the opening of the semi final rough ball match between House Ocelot and House Fennec.
Rough Ball always has been a favourite past time of all Vulpinians. This has been said before, but even at the college and university level, communication organizations have set up transmissions of matches at every level. For those in the Warrenshire who cannot make it to matches, there is the Foxburrow Communications Network that makes sure everyone has access to watch or listen to the game. And for those who tune in to said matches on the radio, they are used to hearing the voices of Carmichael Stat and Yvonne Collridge, two broadcasters who have not only been passionate observers of the game, but used to play in it as well. Carmichael used to coach at the Premier League level, while Yvonne at one time was a feared striker for the Ocata City RBC. They know the game very well.
“Perfect weather for today’s match,” Yvonne said as she began the broadcast. “The semi final match for the Royal Academy here in Chattingham as House Fennec tries to defend their title against House Ocelot. Carmichael, we’ve got a good line up for today’s game, let’s look at the way these two teams stack up against each other.”
“Indeed, Yvonne,” Carmichael replied as he read off his statistical sheets. “House Fennec isn’t making many changes at all, their starting lineup will have Clair Middleton in goal, Harriet Shortclaw as jumper and star striker Philburt Collinsworth is ready for today’s match. There are a great number of changes to House Ocelot’s lineup. Senia Felix is still in goal, Aria Sharpspear still at jumper, but with the recent events surrounding Jada Hawkspur’s disciplinary actions she has been banned from competition. As a result, Clarfax Billings has been brought up to the striker line. Mills and Pinkerton have been moved from second line to first line defense.”
“Any predictions as a result of those changes,” Yvonne asked as they kept the banter going before the first whistle to open the match would sound out.
“Some solid moves,” Carmichael replied. “However, House Ocelot has only had a few days to practise with this new line up, so there’s no telling how they’ll work together in game time situations. House Ocelot has been known as one of those teams that can improvise quite well on the fly, but they’re up against a strong House Fennec squad that has prided themselves on a solid unit throughout the regular season. I’m staying with my prediction from last week’s Rough Ball Report, and picking House Fennec to win a close match in the dying seconds today.”
“You’ve rarely been incorrect in your predictions, Carmichael,” Yvonne said with a smile in her voice. “If that’s the case, the fans should be treated to an excellent match on the pitch today. We’re seven minutes from the opening whistle of today’s match as the players come out onto the pitch. Enough time to tell everyone listening at home that the officials for today are Herbert Shorttail acting as head referee, Maria Cortez and Julian Crookshank as the lines officials, Unia Clearwater and Gwen Finnian as the goal judges. As the players warm up, Headmistress of the Royal Academy, Air Marshall Cecilia Collinsworth is making her way to center field. The referees have joined her as have the captains of both teams. For House Fennec, that’s Philburt Collinsworth, Clair Middleton and Helena Longtail. For House Ocelot, that’s Senia Felix, Aria Sharpspear and Hardy Maynard.”
“They’re going through the official coin toss,” Carmichael spoke up as he read off his stats sheet. “They’ll be using the official coin commemorating the 76th Fighter Squadron lead by Left-tenant Colonel Artemis Dawkins who was instrumental in making sure supplies ran to the appropriate lines during the Great Lupine Land War.”
“Indeed,” Yvonne said with a nod. “We’re graced with the Colonel and some of his squadron in attendance today. The Barrow’s Revenge, a cargo transport ship with the Vulpinian Trade Commission which the famed Midnight Squadron is a part of, has docked in orbit as Dawkins was asked to speak at this year’s graduation.”
“I understand the Colonel is a huge fan of rough ball, and a staunch supporter of House Ocelot,” Carmichael spoke up. “To be honest, an understatement as rough ball is a passion of many on Vulpinia Prime.” It wasn’t really necessary to state that on air, however, both Carmichael and Yvonne had to stretch out the time while the official coin toss took place.
“The officials are signalling,” Yvonne said as she described the official coin toss for the listeners at home. “House Ocelot won the toss and have elected to kick off. This will give them the advantage of having the ball during the second half and allow them to press the attack early. House Fennec has announced they’ll take the west side of the field. Wind isn’t a factor in today’s match, as it’s a light breeze under a sunny sky. Field temperature is twenty degrees Celcius with a no chance of rain.”
“Perfect weather for a perfect day of rough ball,” Carmichael said with a firm nod.
“We’ll turn things over to the Public Address announcer now, who will officially open up today’s match.”
As the announcers were going through the motions of the usual pregame broadcast, in the stands, Jada Hawkspur was nervously watching. She wished she were on the field with her mates to help with the match. But she told herself, Senia was an excellent leader, Aria was the best athelet they had and Clarfax would make a good replacement striker. But these reminders of her classmates and teammates’ prowess did not subside any feelings of nervousness. This would be the first time she had to watch a match from the stands.
Things would look up, however, as Jada soon discovered. As she stared down at the pitch, watching her friends warming up, she felt a light thump on the seat to her left and another on the seat to her right. She turned, slightly startled, then smiled when she saw Claudia Whitefur and Robert Quickfoot.
“Good afternoon, Jada,” Claudia said in her usual cheery fashion. Robert nodded with a sheepish smile. Jada nodded to them both, finding herself feeling a little bit better. “We saw you in the stands and decided to join you.” Both Claudia and Robert were carrying a few souveniers, Claudia had a bag of snacks and Robert had an ice tea in hand. Claudia carried a penant that said in bold letters “House Falcon supporting House Ocelot”. Jada couldn’t help but smile. “How are you doing this afternoon?”
“To be honest,” Jada replied with a sigh. “Nervous. I’m not looking forward to this match. It’s the first time I haven’t been on the pitch.”
“Well, um,” Robert said in his usual quiet tone. “This is actually the first game I’ve seen live. Most times, I just listen on the radio or watch it on the screens at Falcon boarding house.”
“It’ll be a different experience,” Jada replied with a nod. “Much louder, naturally. But as long as you’re with us, you should enjoy it.” She looked to the pitch once more, taking note that the players were lining up for the singing of the school anthem. “We best settle in, the game’s about to start.”