Idle Time Games II: Summer 2007

2007 Idle Time May Games in June at Natomas – June 23, 2007

I’d like to extend a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated this past weekend, helping to make this an incredible Idle Time event and one that will be next to impossible to top next year (not that we won’t try; we’re all immensely earnest in our frivolity).  We had competitors and comrades drive in from all over: the Bay Area, South Bay, and even Santa Cruz.  By the end of the evening over forty people had embraced the spirit of the Idle Time Games.  Warms the heart, it does.

Gold Medal – Pocket Protectors: Amanda Plasencia, Jill “Stop Calling Him a Ringer!” Pellerin, Kevin Hayes, Brian Pellerin, Joey “The Ringer” Elftmann
Silver Medal – 11th Hour: Paul Mammini, Dan Clanon, Dave Curiel, Jervey Kong, Lyn Rotairo
Bronze Medal – The Capers of Solomon Lox and the Poppyseed Bunch: Jeremy Nguyen, Nate Cramton, Jessica, Greg Smith

Right now, at some bar in Boston, Matt Di Gino is telling a group of strangers, “Cramton-Smith method my ass!  What a rip-off!  We held the gold medal team to six points but because goddam Nate couldn’t make a freaking lay-up…!”  Team Sweden had a great time watching basketball all morning after a first-round exit.

At one point during the second round, during a match between the Poppyseed Bunch and eventual gold medal-winning Protectors, on a Pocket possession, Jeremy yelled out “Twirl!” and Jessica ran the play to perfection, twirling like a ballerina half the length of the court.  Matt shook his head, turned away, and muttered something about “these guys get to advance…”  To their credit, the Poppyseed Bunch was playing a man down, forced to play three full games without a single substitution.  Tie-dyed grit and grapefruit.

The bigger story was the inspired play of 11th Hour – a team thrown together at the last minute (“We seriously need costumes..?”) but that came blazing, full of energy (and captivating warm-up exercises) to thrill the crowds and drive all the way to the gold medal game against Pocket.  They were new to the Idle Time Games, but played like a veteran squad nonetheless, earning silver in the day’s first event.

The champs, Team Pocket, showed just how serious they were about winning when Jill launched a loose ball at my face, breaking my sunglasses (I really did mean to take them off…) and ensuring that the only medal I’ll be sporting from basketball is the bruisy-purple ring around my left eye.  Even without the hardcore aggression, Pocket played like a well-oiled machine, cruising through their three matches for a well-deserved championship.

Other notes: Serge took advantage of the Banditos’ early exit by making Rex use just about every acronym in the English language. Twice… Thanks to Marissa Kania for getting up early to help out with the Banditos’ one and only first-round match… Ian Powell was ridiculous, sinking one jumper after another in all three of the Black Hole Society’s games… Ted, Rex, and I did wheatgrass shots for no reason.

Gold Medal – Poppyseed Bunch
Silver Medal – Team Sweden: Matt Di Gino, Sherice Wu, Ted Monson, Rex Flores, and Mike Di Gino
Bronze Medal – Pocket Protectors

It was the longest part of the day, but also, quite possibly, the most delicious.  Nelson “Big Phun” Wong had an amazing spread que’d up for all of us, and we had more than enough time to enjoy the feast — given the long games and unfortunate delays.  But it was still kickball and it was still awesome.  All the games were close and every flyball was an adventure.

After the prelims, there was a tie for the wild-card spot and the Poppyseed Bunch, assisted by disabled Swede Will Howell, took on the 11th Hour in a one-inning playoff for the fourth seed in the second round.  Nate Cramton toed the rubber and worked the corners of the plate for the victory… but his best game was still ahead.

A blazing roller by Rex Flores and tight defense, particularly from the vacuum hands of leftfielder Ted Monson, gave Sweden their first trip to the medal round after a 5-3 defeat of Pocket.  That, and Sherice’s gutsy determination to fearlessly play the third base corner despite the presence of a rather messy water puddle.

The Banditos won only their preliminary match, but featured some of the more entertaining moments of the day nonetheless.  In their second round bout against Poppyseed, Serge demonstrated that there is more than one way to safely reach second base whilst avoiding the peg from a thrown kickball by rolling, rumbling, and otherwise sprawling a good fifteen feet down the baseline.  When the dust cleared, his left hand was safely on the bag, and we all cried sand.  In the bronze medal game against the Pocket Protectors, Ben — filling in for the departed Marissa — bounced a pop-up off his pecs and into the ref’s face (me), damaging a second pair of sunglasses.  Dammit.

In the two-inning finale, Nate and the Poppyseed Bunch squelched Sweden’s bid for a repeat diamond-gold with an unhittable splitter that, if put in play, popped straight up in the infield.  Will didn’t bounce anything off his pecs.  Final score: 1-0.  Nate pitched a perfect game.  “I can’t wait to tell my dad!”  Heroes are born and dreams are realized every day, friends.  I’m glad we could all have been there.

Other notes: Acronym Constable Jeremy Lehrer had plenty of time to tally penalties during the over three hours we were at the diamond, but Donald Hanson cleverly pulled his team over to the shade of a distant tree in between matches, a strategy that would pay off later… Jervey ate forty-three chicken wings.  This is why we refuse to incorporate eating challenges in our Games.  Some folks wouldn’t stand a chance… Nelson refused to divulge the secret of any of his marinades or sauces, but word on the street is that a few strips of bacon buys off Elvis’s loyalty… At least three people were overheard saying, “Wait, you can throw the ball at the runner?”  Thanks for reading all the posts guys…

Disc Golf

Gold Medal – Poppyseed Bunch

Silver Medal – Team Sweden

Bronze Medal – Pocket Protectors

The day’s marquee event was cut from two rounds to one in order to save time.  But to be honest, after eight holes of frolf, I’m ready to pull on some tights.  So it worked out pretty well.

Despite taking first-place in three of the five divisions, Team Sweden was deadlocked with the heavily-favored Poppyseed Bunch at the conclusion of regulation.  A tie-breaker format was created on the spot, and while Greg and Nate, representing Poppyseed, and Matt and myself, for Sweden, marched out to the fourth teebox for a playoff hole, the rest of the assembled combatants lounged under the shade of a fence.  “Tell us what happens.”  Such suspense!  Team Sweden lost by a stroke and Poppyseed continued to shock the sporting world with its second gold medal of the day.

The best single score on the day didn’t belong to a Swede or a Poppyseeder, though.  It was Pocket Protector Joey Elftmann, with a two-under on the round.  Further proof that if you lead a blindfolded Joey into a Big 5, spin him around and have him grab the first thing he touches… he will dominate you with it.

Bag-toting Greg Smith let ‘er rip from box 6 and domed a poor unsuspecting Dan while group one was strolling away from the basket.  Greg seemed to feel genuinely bad about the drive, but I suspect Dan may have used the term “frolf” one too many times in Greg’s presence.  From then on, Tim yelled a very neighborly, “Take your time number ones!” upon approaching the subsequent teeboxes.

Special thanks to Madeline Updegraff for being such a good sport and helping the Black Hole boys out with their girl requirement for the first three events.  She had to bow out after golf, however, so, in preparation, Stu took a nap just on the hilly side of basket three in order to be fully rested for dodgeball.

Superhero Dodgeball

Gold Medal – Pocket Protectors

Silver Medal – Banditos: Serge Soria, Tim Hanks, Lauren Struebing, Ben Claridad, Jimmy Chew

Bronze Medal: Team Sweden

Easily the most entertaining part of the day.  Thirty-odd costumed or marginally-disguised heroes and villains making their way through the Natomas neighborhood en route to a show-stopping display of marksmanship and agility on the playground court of Natomas Elementary.  Despite an awkward arrangement of “ball-fetchers” and poorly-marked boundaries, this seemed to have been the one event everyone, despite the late hour of the day, could have easily kept playing (Matt: “Waitaminute! Basketball?!?”)

First, a quick roll call:

Team Sweden: Rex as Thor, Mike as Hawkeye, Sherice as Marvel Girl, Ted as Quail Man, and Matt as Plastic Man

Poppyseed Bunch: Jeremy as He-Man (obviously), Jessica as She-Ra, Nate as Robin, and Greg as Nick Fury.  Will took up space as a “civilian bystander.”

Black Hole Society: Donald as Green Lantern, Ryan as Morbius, Ian as Namor (supposedly), Will as Logan, and Stu as CaptainPlanet

Pocket Protectors: were all The Incredibles.  What camaraderie.  They also got a little help in Amanda’s absence from Green Lantern, and, after Joey pulled a groin muscle in the first round (how’d you explain that at your volleyball tournament Sunday?), Rob Obedoza took on a civilian support role.

Banditos: Serge as Wood Man, Tim as… some guy with a shiny bike helmet and elephantiasis?  Jimmy as The Shoveler, and Ben as The Hulk (my sink is still green, by the way).  Lauren helped out in her civvies.

The 11th Hour: all wore funny hats.  We let them throw all the same.

The Pocket Protectors clinched the first-place overall medal with a gold-medal victory over the Banditos and the strangely unhittable Serge Soria.  Something about an invisible leaf shield… Rob gave us a true comic book ending to Pocket’s second-round game by running in the line of fire to save the last-standing hero from a grisly beaning.  Proof that not all heroes come in costumes… Joey gave Rex endless shit about his cape rule.  This was before the groin pull… Turns out the stretching out of the ol’ inner thigh area might be a dodgeball pre-game pre-req from now on: Jervey had to turn over driving duties to Lyn Saturday night after a similar injury… I’d like to point out that, yes, they are nice tights and in three games I wasn’t hit once. Victory, however, was lost in my fingertips.  Curse you Mr. Incredible…!

Overall Points:

1. Pocket Protectors – 8

2. Poppyseed Bunch – 7

3. Team Sweden – 5

4. 11th Hour – 2

5. Banditos – 2

6. Black Hole Society  🙂

Medals Ceremony and Post-Game

Many thanks to our new friends at Extreme Pizza for taking such good care of us Saturday night.  Jazz and Monica want to play too next time.  The Black Hole Buddies ate all the leftover crusts.  And… Tara tried a hummus pizza.  Miracles and amazing feats abound!  Constable Lehrer showcased his superpowered public speaking ability, hypnotizing the crowd by swinging his hyperbole hammer and calling down a captivating cloud of anecdotal thunder.

Hustle Award – Without question, the hustlin’ hero hoorah for these games went to Nelson Wong.  Nobody caters a BBQ (or stretches a budget) better.  Thanks mang.

The Big Phun Award – Jervey Kong.  Awarded to Jervey for his tenacity and perseverance in pursuit of Admiral Nelson’s secret blend of herbs and spices.  He didn’t get any recipes; he did get a medal.

The Jimmy Olsen Award – Jeremy Lehrer.  Truly an officer and a gentleman, sir.  Thanks to the good Constable for keeping tabs on all the events, recording acronym penalties, and snapping photos right and left all day long.

The Spirit Award – Matt Isenhower.  Matt Di Gino, who awards this medal, mistook “spirit” for “spirits” and awarded Isey for his one inning of competition, and six solid hours of mixing martinis whilst smoking cigars on his lawn chair.  The unofficial spirit award goes to Will Howell.  Despite a broken hand and a difficult decision to go on Team Sweden’s DL, Will still showed up at 8am to help ref basketball and played with the Poppyseed Bunch (as much as his puffy pinky would allow) for the remainder of the day.

Best Costume Award – Jeremy Nguyen as He-Man.  The Poppyseed-fan-heavy crowd tipped the cheer-meter to LeJerm’s favor, but, if you ask me… Rex was pretty untouchable in that Thor garb.

Best Theme Song Award – The Black Hole Society: Donald Hanson, Ian Powell, Will Updegraff, Ryan, and Stu Parkhurst.  These guys recorded their own monster jam for the event and, in case you haven’t heard this blistering ode to sportsmanship and Taco Bell, the mp3 is still on the Google Group site.

Special thanks to Donald and Ian, in their alter-egos as Arcturus, the Boy Tune Wonder and Random Sounds and Voices, respectively, for dropping a limited edition May Games EP on all the teams.  Next year one of you guys needs to dress up as MUSCI.

Beer Shuffle Honors – Gold Medal to Tim Hanks and Sergo Soria for the second straight Idle Time Games; Silver Medal to Nate Cramton and Zack Wolf; Bronze Medal to Kalaine Lee and Sherice Wu (for being the only other team to win a game).

Who’s the (most) Shit (-faced)? Award– Matt Frye.  He peed on Rex’s couch later that night and blamed the dog.  Bastard.

Thanks to my brother for picking up this year’s hardware and thanks to Sherice for designing and labeling the whole lot of ’em.  Those of you lucky enough to get a Di Gino silhouetted on a dodgeball or disc golf medal should feel especially heroic.

Pics!  Nate has his (primarily) dodgeball shots posted here: (click on “Natomas Games”)

and I uploaded Rob’s shots from disc golf here:

Jeremy’s pics will be coming soon, as will the rest of Rob’s  Check the Institute board for updates.  Also, if anyone has pics of their own, or anecdotes to share, please do so.

Once again, a million thanks to everybody involved.  Thanks for coming, thanks for playing, thanks for hanging out, and thanks for making this a fabulous experience.  Now, what’re you guys doing in October…?


– Mike

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