Some teams one simply dislikes (see The Disgraced). And other teams are such a deplorable melange of Monchhichi outcasts that one can barely muster the psychic energy to register an emotion other than the vaguely disinterested, lip-curling kind of subconscious revulsion that wells up upon stepping in a fetid pile of dog excrement.
Or so it is for me anyway.
And with this thought fresh in their minds, the mighty Black Fish took to court three for the pivotal encounter with the little chimps. A fine Fish unit it was too, bolstered by the timely return of Weeks (R) and Foreman (D), the eagerly-anticipated re-warming of the scorer's chair by the slender buttocks of Rajapaksa (S), the incomparable courtside stylings of Foreman (L) and Rodgers (S) - who, it must be added, is putting in a strong effort for Supporter-of-the-Year honours in 2007 - and the spectacular Black Fish debut of promising rookie Whittle (N).
Few would argue that this represented one of the most highly-skilled, and undoubtedly the tallest, Black Fish teams ever to take to the pine, and hopes were high for a favourable outcome in this pivotal clash with the second-ranked team.
Unfortunately for the Fish, 'the Vu' decided to institute a game plan of annoying zippy mosquito-like mincy-hand-slappy interception basketball, interspersed with a three-point shooting accuracy in excess of 80 percent. And for the SuperFish, this game plan was basketballing kryptonite.
By half time, the Fish were in trouble, the referees were angry, Noutz (C) had committed his inaugural unsportsmanlike foul (unwarranted), and the Vu were apparently breeding asexually like mogwai in a swimming pool. They were simply everywhere. It was creepy.
By the middle of the second half, the Fish were in deep trouble. Trailing by as much as 15 points, things looked grim for the crowd favourites. As expected, it was at this point that the Black Fish spirit prevailed and an inspirational fightback began. Whittle (N), who had begun to make telling inroads on the boards, suddenly lit up with some classy inside manoevres and a glorious long bomb. Meanwhile, Rodgers (N), Foreman (D), and Weeks (R) were beginning to exert their dominance, Noutz (C) launched a campaign of terror, and Edwards (S) and Whittle (S) provided metronomic end-to-end consistency.
With only minutes remaining, an unlikely victory suddenly looked possible. But alas, making up the last few points was proving a sisyphean task for the Fish. At which point God himself again proved which Marden Thursday night E-grade basketball team he supports - with the Black Fish down 56-59 and only a handful of seconds left on the clock a minor melee erupted courtesy of one of the countless little pricks that constitute the Deja Vu "mens'" team. A mostly disconsolate and disinterested Black Fish side was then surprised to see the little guys clear their bench of a host of diminutive, unusual-looking, ridiculous-puffy-jacket-wearing aspiring international reptile-smugglers. And that, dear reader, is a contravention of the rules. Enter the big, angry, antalgic-gaited MARS boss, who promptly, and correctly, disqualified the little macaques and awarded a deserving victory to the mighty mighty Black Fish.
What a night.
Next week is a bye and will see the Fish hit the gym for a week of intensive training in preparation for the final game of the minor round. Should the Fish win their final game they will be assured of a place in the finals series. Don't miss it.