Rounding up the Usual Suspects

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 16:10

Rounding up the Usual Suspects

Looking over the field of 2012 Founders Cups teams, two clear questions emerge: Is this the year the East Coast cedes control of the Founders Cup? And, can anyone beat OSC?

There's really no argument about the #1 seed this year. OSC - Other Shot Callers are not only the reigning FC11 champs, their core of players has an insurmountably long resume of excellence in this tournament, dating back to such legendary DC franchises as Kick Asphalts. They know exactly what it takes to win it all, and they're the team to beat until somebody does so.

As for the contenders vying for that honor, it's an impressive lineup of FC veterans, with each team in the top 8 seeds appearing in at LEAST their 3rd Founders Cup. Here's a quick rundown of the teams leading the charge to topple the frontrunner:

- The Situation, lone representatives of the mighty Norfolk region - a veteran crew with DNA tracing back to FC'08 champs Frosty Balls. Always reliable for a deep tournament run, and possibly playing their very best kickball right now, judging by their recent streak of high-profile victories. This is a team that's been there - and you can bet they know the way back.

- Pink on the Inside, kickball superstars of San Francisco. They made the Final Four at FC'11, and back in FC'09 their Best Coast Ballers incarnation was the first West Coast team to reach the Championship, losing to OSC's predecessor The Others. They always do well on this stage, and winning it all is just one more leap away.

- Relax and Let it Happen, from Austin's TX Capital League - the seat of elite competition in the Lone Star state. A perennial contender with a nasty habit of getting KO'ed by Pink on the Inside. This year, presuming they both hold court in Pool Play, if they meet again it'll be in the Finals. The buzz says this may be the best roster they've ever brought to FC - but if they want the cup, they'll need to step up and make it happen. (See what I did there?)

- Sofa King Good return to the FC stage for the first time since their FC'10 run to the Final Four, still bearing the distinction of being the only SoCal team to advance as far as the Semis. Now at the vanguard of the most impressive Los Angeles delegation to compete for the cup, they can't rest on the laurels (Sofas?) of past success - the game around them has risen like a tide, and they'll need to be better than ever to ride it to a world championship.

- Pitch Please, longtime champs of the venerable CA Hollywood League, have done more than nearly anyone to silence skeptics of L.A. Kickball. They made noise as underdogs in FC'10, and granted a #8 seed in FC'11 they lived up to the hype and reached the Elite Eight. They're clearly quite comfortable on the Founders Cup stage. If seeds hold and they face Pink on the Inside in the Quarterfinals, circle that as a game to watch.

- NDW - No Dead Weight, from ME Superhero League, who indeed seem to appear once a year from their mysterious Fortress of Solitude in Portland, Maine... and proceed to kick ass all over the place. They may fly under the radar, but they are heavyweights -- and you underestimate them at your peril.

- Los Brew Crew, the powerhouse of Pasadena, and arguably SoCal's hottest team heading into tournament day. After a rough session of pool play in FC'11, they found themselves facing OSC in the Round of 32 -- and gave the champs the biggest scare they had all day. Since then they've only improved, with stellar free agent signings and an array of impressive tournament victories. The 8-seed could earn them another shot at OSC in the quarterfinals - a rematch you can bet they'll be ready for.

These of course are just the leaders of the pack - but the pack is deep indeed and the possibilities are myriad. More than half the 60 competing teams have FC experience, and it wouldn't be Founders Cup without some shocking upsets and cinderella runs. Can teams like NOLA's Oh Danny Balls, Sunnyvale's SCUMBAGS, Vegas' own Pitches Be Crazy!!, and ABQ's Mr. Hankeys Kickball Special build on their FC'11 Sweet 16 runs? Can San Diego's SoCal Riot, Phoenix's W. Richard, and Denver's Dice. Kickball walk it like they talk it? Which high-seeds get taken down a peg and which low-seeds trade that chip on their shoulder for fresh bragging rights?

How about we all meet up in Vegas this Saturday and find out?

-- OW!

Orion Walker (@theorionwalker) is the WAKA Founders Cup World Kickball Championship Scorekeeper & lead Bracketologist, and something like the Managing Secretary of the Selection & Ranking Committee. Be sure to follow @FoundersCup for his live tournament commentary and complete game results!

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