Victory is Ours in the End
The whistle blew. The crowd celebrated enthusiastically
as the Haunted Woods Yooyuball team raised their fists in the air, causing the
screams of the crowd to become more wild.
The Kreludor team approached them, and they took
turns shaking hands. Even if success hadn't come to them, they still respected
the other team, so they congratulated them. "Good luck in the finals," Zenor
stated, not showing any emotions on his face. Zo nodded. "Hey, you did a good
job out there. It was a close game." Smiling genuinely, the fire Korbat turned
and walked away with his fellow team mates.
As everyone cheered on, the players in purple
and orange trudged back into their own locker room. Having heavy hearts, they
started removing their shoulder pads.
"At least this time it wasn't a total embarrassment..."
Derlyn stated, sighing and sitting on the bench. Upon hearing that, her fellow
orange team member glared at her for bringing up things that happened in the
"Hey, I already told you guys that I didn't mean
to throw the Yooyuball into our goal last time! It just..." Qyldae paused, searching
his brain for a reasonable answer but not able to find a good one. "... a mistake."
Xila frowned, feeling the tension of their losses
bringing forth an uncomfortable silence. Not wanting for the Grundo to feel
bad, she murmured, "It's ok, Qyldae, we all make mistakes."
"Thanks, Xi." Glad that she backed him up, Qyldae
continued shoving things into his duffle bag. The pink Grundo smiled at her
all too common nickname.
It was an embarrassing ordeal last year. Even
worse than being defeated is being thrown out for breaking the rules. Qyldae
felt terrible and ashamed, and he didn't have the heart to talk to the rest
of the team for weeks.
And now, Xila was sure he felt almost as crummy
as he did the last time they walked off the arena unvictorious. Just as all
of her team mates felt. After all, they worked so hard this past year, and everyone
had really wanted to win.
Xila thought it'd be nice to win, but she didn't
find it as important as the others did. She didn't play for the glory or shining
trophies; though she did appreciate the fans. Her true reasons for playing was
because she enjoyed it. And what confused her the most was her team's obsession
about the things she herself cared so little about. Wasn't Yooyuball about going
out there and enjoying yourself? Wasn't it about showing teamwork all throughout
the game and being proud of yourself?
In any case, the others seemed to think winning
the game was what the whole Yooyuball sport was about. And if that was true,
they were playing for all the wrong reasons.
In any case, every single one of them found it
hard to put all their things in their bags and leave the locker room. They would've
wanted to see a crowd standing outside, to cheer them on. But unfortunately,
everyone else was still in the stands, waiting for the next game to start.
Walking through the corridors towards the exit,
they saw the Haunted Woods team again. Flocks of people were around them, some
congratulating them, others were wanting them to sign their shirt or hat, or
some other branded merchandise. Passing them up, they left the stadium. The
whole time not a word was spoken. After all, they had nothing to talk about.
"H-hey! Wait!" a voice called out. Turning their
heads, they all watched as a young purple Zafara ran up to them, panting heavily.
After taking a second to regain her breath, the Neopet beamed brightly at them
under her orange freckles that dotted her face. She held out a permanent marker
"C... can I have your autographs on my shirt?"
They all blinked, exchanging looks. Xila reached
out to grab the pen from her. After all, she wasn't confused like the rest of
the team. Vignacio stopped her, though, and voiced everyone else's thoughts.
"Why would you want our autographs? We didn't win... "
Another smile that seemed to light up her face.
"That's ok! It doesn't matter if you won or not, you're still my favorite team!"
Surprise took over. They all stared at her, not
knowing what to say to that.
"Hey kid, what's your name?"
"Merrellu! But everyone calls me Merle!"
"...Merle, hang on for a second." Derlyn fumbled
through her sport bag, pulling out her Yooyuball catcher. She handed the large
equipment over to Vignacio. "Hold it still."
The green Lutari did so, and Derlyn neatly signed
her name on the piece of equipment. Holding out the pen, she waited for another
team member to come up and sign.
And they all did, taking turns autographing their
names on it. As Vignacio finished signing it, Derlyn handed it to Merle. "There
you go. From all of us."
"Oh... are you sure I can take this?" The Zafara
stared wide eyed at the signatures, then looking up at the team.
"Of course, I've got a few extras back home."
Derlyn grinned, winking.
Merrellu smiled brightly again, almost hopping
up and down with excitement. "Oh... thank you so much!"
"No, thank you, Merle."
Merle smiled, then ran off towards a girl that
was waiting for her. It must've been her owner. A few other Neopets were with
her, watching their sibling return with more than than they all expected. They
talked to each other for a few seconds, then they turned and waved goodbye to
They all had Kreludor team branded shirts on.
The team watched them all head back to the arena,
silent. But this time, it was a good silence.
"Let's go home and get some hotdogs... " Zenor
stated, looking up at them all with a grin.
Vignacio looked down at him. "Hungry already?
Didn't you have a bunch of nachos before we went out to play?"
The blue Grundo looked up scornfully. "Maybe... but
Yooyuball always burns down my calories! I gotta stay in shape somehow."
A grin. "Don't you mean that you gotta feed your
stomach that's as big as the sport you play?"
They all laughed at that. Zenor lost his scowl
and joined them.
"Tomorrow... let's go play Yooyuball down at
the practice field. And the day after that, let's play some more!" Qyldae said.
"After all, we can't let a little defeat stop us from doing what we do best,
Zenor nodded, looking serious. "Yes! We have
to train for next year's tournament! If... there is going to be one."
Derlyn smiled. "Or we could say that... we're
playing... because we want to."
"After all..." Vignacio looked around, scoffing.
"It is just a game. So no rules, no goals or objectives along the way! Let's
just enjoy ourselves this year!"
Xila jumped up, excited. "Yeah! Let's go!"
They all smiled at each other, forming a circle.
They raised their fists in the air and shouted, "All for one and one for all!"
As they walked away from the stadium, they felt
the mood around them change. They didn't feel sad or defeated anymore. In fact,
it almost felt like there was a crowd around them, cheering them on. And that
was just as good as the real thing.
I hope you enjoy this story! No matter what Kreludor is still my favorite