In a titanic duel fought under threatening skies, the DTM Dynamos battled the GL Pistons in the Second World Mud Cup soccer match. It was a classic defensive struggle, with both teams trying their best to kick a little white ball through two sets of wide-spaced goal posts, a seemingly straightforward and achievable task. However, a full hour of play resulted in rewarding the massive, wildly cheering crowds assembled on the side lines with the vicarious excitement gained by watching each team score a measly goal apiece. In spite of the seeming equality of this outcome, the GL Pistons were declared the winners.
Under the Australian rules of soccer, it seems that the scoring of goals involves identifying the particular goal posts through which the ball passes with one team or the other, rather than having any goals simply be credited to the team of the player who accomplished the goal. Because of this highly non-intuitive and clearly arbitrary rule, in a technical sense GL won the match. However, we who labor daily in the world of Professional Sports Reporting all know that it was really a tie game, in a moral sense anyway.
The two teams took the field near Wilson High School resplendently clad in their team colors, blue for DTM, white for GL, and bare skin for those non-partisan players who have already advanced to a state of Oneness with both of the rival departments. Nelson ``Shutterbug'' McWhorter was on hand to photograph the event.
The first goal was scored by Uwe ``Red Shorts'' Wiechert, a new recruit to the GL Pistons. Wiechert astounded the other players and the spectators by demonstrating remarkable ball handling skills before the game started, including the ability to toss the ball straight up in the air by kicking it with the heel of his foot. This is a skill that most of the other players are still trying to master with the front of their feet. Wiechert is so new that his name does not yet even show up on the GL telephone list, prompting some concern by suspicious DTM players, but if his soccer skills remain strong, Wiechert can look forward to a 20-year postdoctoral fellowship at GL.
Pat McGovern took over as DTM goalkeeper, replacing DTM stalwart Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni, who was felled by a virus thought to have been contracted as a result of the recent Internet break-in of a GL computer, a likely coincidence. McGovern proved to be a strong goalkeeper, however, with his kicks routinely returning the ball to midfield. John Straub handled the goalkeeping duties for the GL Pistons, forbidding any goals to be scored on him with the thinly veiled threat that there might be a ``problem'' with the prospective scorer's next paycheck.
The second goal was scored by DTM's Stacy McGaugh shortly after he sustained a mild concussion and the loss of his glasses in a collision with a GL player Who Shall Remain Nameless But Knows Who He Is. McGaugh, evidently disoriented by the collision but still feisty nonetheless, remained in action, turning down John VanDecar's offer to substitute for him. Shortly thereafter McGaugh kicked what should have been the game-tieing goal, unfortunately into the DTM goal. Some puzzled spectators, after spitting out their plug tobacco juice, slowly ventured the opinion that McGaugh's action may have been caused by his several years of immersion in the collegial atmosphere of the two co-located departments, where he might have lost sight of his sense of allegiance to DTM. McGaugh was offered a postdoctoral fellowship by GL Director Charlie Prewitt immediately after the game ended.
Many players commented on the pleasant Washington summer climate, perfectly suited for strenuous outdoor activities such as World Mud Cup-class soccer, and most took time to linger reflectively on the field after the match for as long as a minute or two before fleeing back to their offices. Some players noted that the overall experience made them much more appreciative of the ongoing efforts being made to bring ``air-conditioning'' to the DTM/GL Research Building. ``Air-conditioning'' is believed to be in common use in many parts of the world during the summer months. In fact, many senior GL and DTM staff members recollect that once their offices too were ``air-conditioned'', though the younger scientists tend to discount these wild and unsubstantiated claims.
The game was once again ably officiated by Alan Linde, who warded off the mid-afternoon sun by wearing an authentic-looking Australian hat (available at your local Outback Steakhouse for $59.95, with the purchase of a Bloomin' Onion). Linde's mood, always crucial to the conduct of the game, seemed to be quite sanguine, matching the red faces of many of the heat-exhausted players, and only once did he threaten to enforce the quaint rule against slugging your opponent.
Following the fiasco of last fall's First World Mud Cup, which ended in a tie after DTM took pity on their discouraged GL brethren, it is rumored that GL began to require candidates for GL postdoctoral fellowships to demonstrate their profiency in basic soccer skills -- the first question usually asked involves the number of years they have played for their national soccer team. The DTM team, composed mostly of postdoctoral fellows chosen more for their skills in preparing a casual lunch for 30 souls who have skipped breakfast, counting on a hearty lunch, has yet to adopt this more modern and effective approach to recruitment.
Dave ``Sasquatch'' Kuentz was flown in from Miami University specifically for the game by DTM Coach Suzan van der Lee, but Kuentz was scoreless, possibly as a result of the two GL players who sat down and wrapped themselves around his legs for the duration of the game. Kuentz had scored both DTM goals in the First World Mud Cup, and was widely recognized as the player to watch. Miami Coach Bill Hart once again seems to have come out ahead, because in exchange for the loan of the hapless Kuentz, Hart was absolved of his cooking debt to the Lunch Club (those Lunch Club members who can still remember Hart's Tuna Noodle Surprise may feel quite relieved, however).