Play With The Prose VI, Challenge 1

This is my third time playing in this writing contest. In my previous two attempts, I reached the semifinals and the finals. With 18 contestants this time, it’s going to be tough to get that far again.

In this contest, the moderator is providing us with a quote for inspiration, and then we just run with it.Once again, judges are awarding medals and after twelve challenges, the top three contestants in each division will make the playoffs. This week’s inspiration:

Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-B-C
When you sing you begin with do-re-mi

Word Limit: 318

August, 1995

“Ready? Set? Go!”

His son was getting quicker, perhaps even a little smarter. But he had a long way to go. Gary deftly hopped over the jousting stick and on the way down landed a blow right behind the shoulder blades. His son collapsed off his platform.

“You okay, sport?”

“Yeah, Dad. Let’s go again. This time, I’m knocking you down!”

“Tell you what, let’s take a break from that and try the atlaspheres.”

His son’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

“Yep! I think you’re ready.” They walked to the backyard where Gary had set up the course as well as the two giant hamster balls. He opened up the door on the first one and urged his son inside.


He could tell his son was scared. “Look, I know you’re frightened. But I can assure you it’s completely safe. And if you’re ever going to be an American Gladiator–and I know you will be– you have to train early.”

His son beamed. Nothing made Gary more happy than knowing that his son shared his dream. A dream that ended six years ago when the producers chose the better looking Rico Constantino over him.

“Dinner time!” Mom’s voice shattered the shared moment.

“But Mom! Dad’s letting me use the atlasphere!”

She shot a glance at Gary before responding. “Now Force, remember what I said?”

“Yeah, Mom,” he groaned. “A true gladiator eats well and obeys his mother.”

“That’s right, Force,” Mom said. “Oh, and Gary, before you come in will you put the air cannon in the garage? I don’t want to scare the neighbors.”

K: Utilizing a pro wrestler? SOMEone knows me (Rico Constantino worked as a pro wrestler for some years after his stint on Gladiators). As a story, it’s certainly charming, and the gags work as intended, though I don’t feel like we got any kind of resolution at the end. It’s great for an anecdote and okay for a story.

CP: I don’t know what I was expecting from this prompt, but it definitely wasn’t this! I like the goofiness of the situation, but ultimately this feels more like a joke than an actual story–nothing really happens to our main characters. Some of the writing also feels cliched, such as the son’s eyes lighting up, or redundant, such as the sentence stating Gary could tell his son was scared, which isn’t necessary given the dialog that immediately follows it.

Don’t ask how the Sound of Music inspired me to write this. Anyway, no argument here about the judge’s comments. It was a very weak story, but at least I got some gags in.

1. Down The Right Field Line

Team: Twins vs. White Sox
Date: September 25, 2008
Announcer: Dick Bremer

In 2008, with six games left in the season, the Twins were behind the White Sox by two and a half games. Fortunately, their last six games were at home, with three against the Sox. They won the first two games of the series to keep their season alive, and one more win against the Sox would put them in first place.

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2. The Twins Have Won It

Game: Twins vs. Braves (1991 World Series, Game 7)
Date: October 27, 1991
Announcer: Jack Buck

I had recently turned 11 when this game occurred, and no doubt this game was just as crazy as game 163 in 2009. But at age 11 I’m not sure I had the capacity to feel as anxious as I do as an adult. Still, I do remember being on the edge of my seat all night.

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3. What Platoon Split?

Game: Twins vs. Cardinals (World Series Game 6)
Date: October 24, 1987
Announcer: Al Michaels

I love Michaels. He’s not an analyst by any means; his knowledge of all sports seems fairly mediocre. But he can call what he sees. Certainly better than most anyone else the past 20 World Series.

For the longest time, I thought that Hrbek won game six for the Twins. As it turns out, the REALLY big hit came from Don Baylor the inning before, and the game-winning RBI went to Steve Lombardozzi. But one could argue that Hrbek guaranteed the victory.

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4. The Cycle Is Complete

Game: Twins vs. Angels
Date: April 17, 2009
Announcer: Dick Bremer

Little did we know in April how important this comeback would be for the final standings. The Twins had not been a high-scoring team in recent years, and when they blew a lead and fell down 8-3 in the 7th, you just figured it was over. Down 9-4 in the 8th, they rallied for 3 runs and had two men out with two out. Morneau was intentionally walked to bring in Jason Kubel. Kubel had already hit a single, double, and a triple at this point in the game. Why, wouldn’t it be poetic if he finished off the Twins comeback by hitting a home run?

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6. Orlando Cabrera Turns Two

Game: Twins vs. Tigers (Game 163)
Date: October 6, 2009
Announcer: Chip Caray

Chip Caray is a terrible play-by-play guy, as evidenced by his call in the bottom of the 10th of this game:

Line drive. Base hit. Caught out there. The runner tags. Throw to the plate. On target. And in time! A double play.


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