Interview with The Cup Player
It’s Altador Cup time in Neopia! For the thousands of fans who attend, this month is the best part of the year. But what do our players think of the fanbase? I, Haibara, have set out to interview players from each team and ask their opinions. Due to time constraints and player availability, some teams have two representatives while others only have one. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy these interviews as much as I enjoyed gathering them. Happy Altador Cup X!~~~~~~~~
Leera Heggle (LD):
It can be tough finding time to interact with the fans, as I use most of my free time practicing. Unlike many of the other Altador Cup players, I rarely see the fans outside of the stadium. When I’m in game mode, my eyes are only on the Yooyu. There’s no time to be distracted when the match starts; my team is counting on me. But don’t get me wrong, I respect dedication. Each season, I take time out of my schedule to talk to prospective Yooyuball players, the serious ones. Team alliance doesn’t matter. These guys and gals have guts, passion, drive. It’s always great talking strategy with them. Before Dinksy was with Krawk Island, she came to our team’s room just around eight years ago, an energetic Shoyru with a love of the game. The moment we talked, I knew she would make the grade. These Yooyuball players understand the game, they get why we love it. My experience with the fanbase is different from most players, but I would not want it any other way.
XL Striker 3.8 (VP):
XLS: Initiating “press response” protocol 4.02. Hello, press sir or madam, I am XL Striker 3.8, and I was created for peak Yooyuball perform—
Interviewer: Thank you for that. Would you be willing to tell me your thoughts on the fanbase?
XLS : Does not compute.
Interviewer: You know, fans of your team?
XLS: Calculating response… complete. The fan unit in the team base is fully operational and programmed with “cool air” technology. The whirring blades provide Team Virtupets with relief from the summer sun. Is this response satisfactory?
Interviewer : Yes, thank you.
XLS: Initiating “handshake mode.” Handshake received.
Feldon “Dinksy” Collibridge (KI):
Well shiver me timbers, Times reporter! It’s an honor to be asked! Aye, I get their passion. Yooyuball is the best game out there, no questions asked. When I see a fan gearin’ up for the cup, I can’t help but feel their excitement. Bein’ in a giant stadium packed with thousands of viewers, it’s the best feelin’ in the world. Soley was right, there’s nothin’ quite like the rush of the game. Even sailin’ on high seas can’t match the cup (and let me tell you, practicin’ on a moving boat is not easy!) Every pass, every flick of my sling, and there’s a roar of applause. And after a great match, I’ll zip above the stadium and give my Krawk Island fans some high power high fives. You can just feel the energy, it’s electric. So when they see me in my street clothes, I can’t help but return their support.
Garven Hale (KI):
Yarr, so you interviewed other teams before ours, is that true? Is it? Heh, it’s fine. I’m just pulling your peg leg. But seriously, though. Interview us first next time.
Fans make the best company at the after game celebrations. Sure, they’re rowdy, but so are we! I’m proud to say my team has gotten us kicked out of the fanciest “high society” places in Altador. Never liked those long-clothes-wearing landlubbers; they can’t take a joke. Speaking of Hawkshanks, he always seemed displeased with our piratey roughhousing, despite looking like a rough-and-tumble guy. I want to think he’s happier with the Moon-walkers. They only occasionally roughhouse, and if my sources didn’t swindle me, they’re in zero gravity, too. Oh, right. Fans. My favorite fans are the ones who know how to be loud. The MVP (Most Valuable Pirate) from last year swung from the chandelier of some ritzy grub hut, winning an all-expense-paid trip to the brig and a photo of the team. Some call us a bad influence, but we’re the best bad influence out there. Without us, no one would be having any fun!
Tandrak Shaye (DC):
The fans? They’re just enthusiastic is all. It doesn’t bother me when kids see me passing by and asking for autographs or pictures. If smiling for the camera or signing an action figure can inspire a kid, all the better. Even if not, hey, how can you say no? It makes me feel good knowing that our team brings joy to the fans.
You’d be surprised how many non-Darigans support the team, too. Sure, sometimes I want some “Shaye time,” but that’s what the sunshades, fedora, and hooded leather jacket are for. The rest of the team laughs at me for it, but hey, a Gelert has to keep up his style! And if the fans get too rowdy, I know a few tricks that will keep them out of my fur. Let’s just say… Vickles and I have been thinking of some fun ones. If someone crosses the line, you’ll know. Trust me on that.
Layton Vickles: (DC)
My teammate said what? Heh, typical Shaye, always posing for the kiddies. It ain’t the same with me, though. Being the team’s captain, it’s hard to get anywhere without being surrounded by a ton of crazies. When they want an autograph, I play along, readying my exploding pen set for the real fun. When I press the tip to their notepad, ink sprays out from other end. You gotta see their faces when it leaves a stain, classic! And then there’s the time when I wrote my name in disappearing ink. The kid’s response was great. But—eh? You want to know my best prank yet? That had to be the one I pulled on the straight-laced ref from Y14. He never realized that I put rancid creamer in his morning coffee. Needless to say, it was the best interview I’ve ever done. And don’t worry, interviewer, I probably didn’t tamper with your tea. Probably. He coughs loudly. Anyway, if you’re talking gullibility, I love the fans. They make this job all the better.
Selmon Woulf (MI):
Dude, did you see that tackle? The one during our Terror Mountain match last year? It was totally righteous. The Yooyu was like, “whoosh!” but I was like, “oh, no, Yooyu. I got you now!” And then the fans were like, “oh, Selmon! You’re so good at blocking!” And of course, being the dashing Mynci that I am, flipped my pony tail with explosive style. You can hear the audience swooning from a half a stadium away. See it to believe it, man. When I smile, the fans just melt.
It’s great to be a Yooyuball player. You feel like a rock star! But you know, I am a rock star. Listen to these beats! He proceeds to make guitar noises and pretends to play a guitar. Can you feel my rhythm? It’s gonna rock the hoooouse!
Meela Kitah (KL):
The fans just don’t get our energy. We like to pump it up to eleven, and as Neopia’s underdogs, we should be making a lot of noise! If they don’t like our excitement, they can go cheer on somebody else, because we earned this spot. Hard work, sweat, determination, we got it all. Ain’t no fan gonna tell us how to play. We’re the lake with heart, brought to the big stage by determination. Honestly, Times reporter, you’re probably better off talking to my friend, Ditan. He seems to hit it off better with the fans than I do. Oh, and if anyone asks, I went that way, got it? .
Ditan Colb (KL):
Meela sent you here? That’s cool. He takes long pauses between sips of his slushie. You wanna hang here for a bit, Times reporter? I can treat. Probably should be practicing, but… yeah, I don’t really feel like it. As for the fans? They’re nice. Some have learned of my chill-out place and bring their buddies along. We just sit down and chat, relax, soak in the country air. They look so happy, too. It makes me feel like, really happy too, you know? It’s all good during the Altador Cup. We have fun, play some awesome games, and see a whole new side of Neopia. If you stay here long enough, my slushie bud from the Woods, Zo Junior, likes to crash here as well.
Zo Junior (HW):
Hey! I see you’ve met my friend, Ditan. He treated you to a slushie, huh? Yeah, there’s nothing like a cool drink after a day of Yooyuball. As for the fans… they’re the best. Really, they keep the game fresh and exciting. Don’t get me wrong, my teammates are great guys—they’re like family to me—but the “Haunties” are on a whole different level of awesome. Of course, my buddy Wan is cheering like no other from the crowd; we really miss him on the team. He needed to spend more time with his family and all, so I get how it is. As for the other fans, even on the worst of days, their energy recharges my batteries. Given how fast I fly, I couldn’t make it without a boost.
Zenor Kevix and Qlydae Wegg (KD):
Kevix: Hey, Times reporter, thanks for the opportunity!
Wegg: Yeah, thanks. We love the fans, just like we love our team.
Kevix: And what do we love more than—
Wegg: Pranking them? Oh, yeah. Do you remember the time when we—
Kevix: Dropped those water balloons on that tour group we asked to stand still?
Wegg: Uh huh. ‘Course, you miscalculated.
Kevix: Well how would I know that the mechanism would get caught up in the rafters? It was an—
Wegg: Accident? Yeah, the accident that had me running out on the field soaked. Ah well, the Maraquans thought it was funny, at least!
Kevix: That it was! And remember how much those kids smiled? I think we made their day.
Wegg: Yeah, but next time you’re—
Kevix: Getting pranked? You’ll have to catch me first!
Wegg : Is that a challenge?
Kevix: You bet it is!
Kayn Hireck (BV):
Being a plushie Skeith, you can only imagine what I look like to a little tyke. They probably think I’m a giant plush toy! It can be pretty cute when you’ve being hugged by a group of ‘em. Some of them are too young to really get sports, but they sure love a big softie. My only pet peeve is when I’m trying to get from point A to point B after a rainstorm. As my fans can tell you, rain… is my enemy. Makes my plush skin really clammy and slimy—definitely not fun. On top of that, when you’re trying to nimbly squeeze your way through a packed stadium (and when it pours, everyone sprints inside except for the Yooyuball players) there’s a lot of, um, smell around. Sorry fans, I know it’s the rain, but that can be really hard to wash out! It’s part of the game, though, so it is what it is, right? And for those wondering, the team really does put me on tumble dry, low heat. I like to think of it as a mini vacation at the beach, except… more spinning.
Lor Benneveldt (MI):
Thank you for your time… and for treating me to lunch. To be honest, I’m not sure if the fans really remember me most of the time. Not when there are bigger names—like Nix or Volgoth—out there. Don’t get me wrong, though, I respect my team members; they deserve the attention. Besides, as an introvert, I’m not one for the limelight. Still love Yooyuball, not necessarily the crowds. I do my best to be polite and all, even when there are a lot of Neopians around. Only wish that there was more appreciation for the goalie! I mean, the occasional fan will come up to me and ask, “You’re with Mystery Island, right?” so I guess that’s something?
Elon Hughlis (MQ):
Oh, I know they call me the “Black Hole,” but it’s fine. I am, after all, the best on my team at scoring goals. If the viewers dislike our team’s play style, they’ll have to learn to accept it. My team has the utmost faith in me. Likewise, I trust them to be my backup when the going gets tough. There are no better defenders this side of Neopia; they always have my back. Yeah, there are times my solitary style gets a “boo” or two, but it takes a team with spirit—a team with talent—to keep the other teams from gaining the advantage. Really, the fans hold no sway on how our team functions. We’ve always done things our own way and it’s been working out fine.
When we’re not having snow ball fights in the super-cooled team room, our team works hard to achieve excellence. You didn’t hear this from me, but I love the snowball fights. Brings be back to my childhood. That and building a snowmen. But Lidel never wants to build snowmen and it’s so fun! He’s such a spoil sport sometimes.
Oh, right. Yooyuball. Sorry. Our months of practice definitely show on the field. Even during the heat of the match, TM fans have talked about our precision and organization. This year, formation alpha-3 has been a huge challenge to overcome (as my team members could tell you). Oooh Taelia was it hard to master. Right forward Lidel and I kind of have our own opinions on play style, so that… slowed things down a bit. That and it gave the press (and some paparazzi) some fuel for their articles, but that’s neither here nor there. Probably didn’t help that I spent two practice days out of commission. Pulling three all-nighters to perfect the technique on paper may not have been the best of ideas, but it was well worth it. Sometimes it can be hard to explain the techniques, especially when your teammates are all older than you, but hey. I think the past years have seen growth in both me and my team, and I hope our fans will continue support us for years to come.
Crade Talvos (HW):
You sure no fans followed you here? One-hundred-and-five percent sure? Good. Very good. Tea? I’m fine, interviewer. Completely, totally fine. Thank you for offering. Xana—she’s Shenkuu’s goalie—and I like to hide away in a tea shop on the outskirts of town. Yes, hide. Maybe it’s cool that I’m the newest player around, but the fans won’t leave me alone! He pounds the interviewing table. Oh, Brain Tree. I hope that wasn’t heard! He lowers his voice to a whisper.Um, anyway, don’t get me wrong. When I play on the field, I feel powerful. Being a wraith, I live for emotions, and the other players are full of them! And—you’re giving me that look. Why do they always give me the look? I only extract what I need to; it’s perfectly legal play. Besides, I’m fueling myself with their excess energy, the kind that becomes abundant during a heated match!
Ehem. Anyway, at first, I loved the fans. Their excitement was simply amazing. But then, it become too much to handle. I’m just one wraith, after all! And those autograph lines… He shudders. The horror is all too real. I know horror, too. I live in the Haunted Woods!
Mirsha Grelinek (SK):
They see me as a leader, a title I will humbly accept. I want the best for my team, and will do whatever it takes to get them there. Sometimes, we invite the “super fans” to our team tai chi sessions. We relax and unwind, listening to the sounds of the gentle flute and ethereal harp while exercising together. Cups of green tea are freshly prepared and layered with sakura blossoms. It is a most wonderful time.
Interacting with the “super fans” between matches increases morale. It restores internal balance when the stresses of a day’s match can leave one feeling disharmonious. And when I see the smiles on their faces, I feel at peace. Truly, as our fans might agree, we have a team with heart. My teammates are family, and they each bring a different blend of personality traits and dreams. Despite our differences, we share a bond that no force could break; this relationship is a thing of beauty.
Larcy Phu (SK):
Mirsha said what about us? That we’re all in harmony with one another? Hah. She says what the Times reporters want to hear. There are times when we squabble, but few are as heated as when the “fans” come. When the team tai chi sessions involve outsiders, they flock to Mirsha, complimenting her on play style and leadership. Meanwhile, is there appreciation for the best tackler in Shenkuu? No, there is not. I deserve such credit.
They fall over often when practicing with us, too. It is poor posture that causes this, and I laugh at their inability. Some of them point fingers at me, but how could I cause their embarrassment? It is not as if I felled them from half a room away. But when they leave, I can hear them complain. Hah. They can say what they will about my play style. I use advanced technique.
It’s funny, really. Just a few years ago, I would have been one of those star-struck fans sitting in the stadium, dreaming of playing on the field. You know, the wonderful thing about following your dream is that moment when you finally achieve it. To think that I—a simple farm Eyrie—could be an inspiration for peasant kids everywhere is just… mind-blowing. I love Yooyuball, and I am so thankful for the opportunities it gave me. When you’re raised in a bubble, it can be hard to imagine a world beyond the wooden fences. Now that I’ve seen Neopia, I want to give that chance to others. I like to “adopt” a talented kid each year to receive personal training from yours truly. They get a front row seat for all of the games. My seat is better used by them, anyway. And when you see how happy they are—that sparkle in their eyes—it’s enough to bring an Eyrie to tears. Look out, Neopia, when these young ones grow up, you’ll be seeing some amazing Yooyuball stars!
“Spikes” Barmie (TY):
Haven’t you heard? Jungle chic is all the rage this year. It might have something to do with Tyrannia’s win back in Y15. Everywhere I go, it’s “Spikes! Sign my toga?” or “Spikes, can I engrave a sketch of you on this flat rock?” You see, I combined the rustic flair of Altador with the ancient charm of Tyrannian patterning. A little faux fur goes a long way, too. Now in year two of production, the Ugga-UGG! line of shoes is selling faster than they can be made. Seeing famous bands like Sticks N’ Stones dipping in the craze is enough to set this Krawk’s heart aflutter. And what better way to spend this energy by giving it my all on the field? Wouldn’t want to disappoint my custom—I mean, our fans!
Ciona Broan (FL):
A lot of Neopians would be surprised to hear this, but I’m actually a Brightvale University student on top of being a Yooyuball player. Come to think of it, I think I’ve seen you before, interviewer. You’re a BVU student too, aren’t you? Anyway, going for my Master’s in sports medicine while balancing a busy practice schedule can be tough, but it’s the love of the game that gets me through. I wouldn’t say I have fans so much as I have supportive classmates. When I’m off the field, I’m just Ciona Broan, nothing special grad student. Colleagues often bust my chops over something I said during an interview or the time when I accidentally swapped uniforms with a Krawk Islander (man, was that embarrassing) but for the most part, I live a normal double life. When I’m on the field, I can hear the cheers of my classmates from a stadium away. No really, though. They care an awful lot, and it means more than I can say. Couldn’t ask for a greater group of friends!
Tulah Kisner (MT):
I mean, the fans are okay. The nice ones, anyway. The mean ones… well, my teammates could tell you: I’m a bit of a hothead sometimes. Always have been, always will be, I guess. When I’m in the zone, those poor sports really irk me for some reason. I guess that’s their intent, to make me mad. After four years of letting them get the better of me, I began to funnel that frustration into my game play. Although I kind of feel bad for tackling Zo Junior to the ground and char-broiling his uniform (again, I was in the zone) it was my way of dealing with the jeers of the rude audience members. I know, I know, I shouldn’t let them bother me. I’m getting better, though. Oh, and I bought Zo a new uniform. Things are still awkward between us, but I think this cup will be better than the last one.
Lyvon Cibaire (AL):
One of these years, the Altador Cup committee will stop saying that I’m “inexperienced.” It’s silly, really, seeing as I’ve been on the team for eight years now. But anyway, over the years, I’ve loved representing our great land.
“Fans” seems to be an odd word to describe the toga-wearing supporters in the audience. In Altador, watching the cup (for at least part of the time) is a civic duty. I want to hope that they are proud of us, and proud of the game that we represent. Yooyuball is a means of honoring the great messenger Yooyus of ancient times. These Petpets transferred letters across the realm at a speed that, until recently, our citizens could never have imagined attainable by Neopian kind. When I see hundreds of our fellow citizens sitting in the stands, eyes glued to the match, it makes me happy. And to the little one who sent that beautiful picture last Altador Cup, it’s sitting on my fridge for all to admire.
Playing for the Roo Islanders has been a non-stop adventure. Everyone on Roo is so full of cheer and good spirit. No matter how well we do, the Islanders always host a parade that rides through Main Street and passes by the brightly decorated castle of King Roo. All are welcome, even the other teams! At the end of every cup, riding on a float made of gummy dice and freshly picked flowers is simply sublime. It brings closure to the Altador Cup. I can feel this sort of warmth from all of the Neopians who watch; they’re so happy to see us back.
Just last year, I befriended Team Brightvale and a bunch of BV fans. I think “Squeaky” is still a little sore about being traded; he didn’t want to come to the reception… but his former team was really friendly. We discussed books together, and even contemplated our place in the universe! All in all, the more I play the more fun I have. I’m sure the rest of the team agrees, the Altador Cup is the best team of year! ~~~~
With that, our interviews have been completed. A big thank you to the interviewed Altadorians for your time and opinions. Wishing you a very happy Altador Cup X! No matter the outcome, it is sure to be one for the record books.
Author’s note: Some of these personalities were inspired by the detailed descriptions of Altadorians on board seven. Your creative thinking really helped to put this project together—thank you!
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