The Lost Desert Supporter's Soul
Listen close, because I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
You may think you know what the Altador Cup is all about, but you don’t have the first clue.
It’s not just a game. It’s not a tournament. These words bind it into something digestible for those who don’t get it. How can I tell you what the Altador Cup really is? How can I tell you what it means to supporters as ardent as I?
See, it’s something you feel.
My name is Caylee. Pretty cute little name for a blue Wocky, right?
My name is a marker of the blue and gold running through my veins. My family has supported the Lost Desert since Altador Cup III. I was named Caylee after legendary Lost Desert forward Vonde Cayle, and one day I am going to be just like him.
For eleven months of the year, I live a pretty boring life. I go to Neoschool, play a little yooyuball in my backyard with my sisters, do a Faerie Quest here and there.
But on June 1st…
I come alive.
Every morning in June, before the sun rays even break through our hotel’s Altadorian window blinds, I am up, showered, and primed in front of the mirror. I put on the perfect amount of my prized tub of Jazan’s Guyliner—not too much, not too little. Rhee Solters isn’t my favorite player, but man! Does she know how to put on eyeliner. I always try to make sure mine looks just like her’s.
I usually start off the month with Derbi Azar’s kit top. Naturally, I have every player’s, but wearing Cayle’s would seem narcissistic. I save his for the end of the tournament. I made the mistake of wearing his top on the first day last year because my mom hadn’t done the laundry, and we finished 16th! I’ll never forgive myself for that.
My parents think I’m just going through a phase, but what they don’t know is that I hold back for their sake everyday. If they knew how much better a supporter I was than them, they would be so embarrassed. One day they will understand—when the team finally wins the cup and acknowledges my contribution as the supreme fan. Then my parents will be so proud of me. It’s not like they didn’t have a role in creating a supporter as perfect as myself.
See, my grandparents and aunts and uncles on my mom’s side are actually all painted Faerie. They live in Faerieland, and despite the Faerieland team’s consistent poor form, the family are die-hard supporters. For some reason, my mom ended up being the black Babaa of the clan. Something about the Lost Desert’s beaming sun and two by two formation just tugged at my mom’s heart. She met my dad on a visit to Coltzan’s Shrine and the rest of that tale is buried in the sands surrounding Sakhmet.
I believe they were brought together by the spirit of Coltzan himself to have me.
The ultimate Lost Desert supporter.
After getting my gear on, I make my way to the colosseum. Yeah, that’s right. I get there before it even opens for the day. I am always the first person in line and I always get the best seat in the stands. I truly believe that I can subsist every day of the Altador Cup on passion alone, but my mom usually ends up packing all three meals for me and brings them with her when she and the rest of my family arrive to the stadium four hours or so later…
The matches are pure euphoria. I can live the other three hundred or so odd days of the year in suffocating mundanity if it means I get this month amongst my true comrades. During the course of each match, I can feel my soul burst free from my body as I screech distractions at the other team, cheer on our players for their clever plays, and sing our Lost Desert songs.
"From sand to sea, through history, we’ll always march towards victory!"
I am always the last person to leave the colosseum after each match. I watch the team leave the pitch, then the managers, physiotherapists, and other staff members for our team. I watch security clear the field, and the cleaning crew prepare for the next day’s match. I watch the other supporters file out. I pay attention to how careful they are with their Lost Desert scarves and their Lost Desert banners, and their match day programs. I take it upon myself to ensure the Lost Desert name is treated with the utmost respect—there’s no room for lax supporters on this side of the stadium!
Most people spend the rest of the match day celebrating with a round of slushies along with their friends and families. Some even hit up a couple tourist spots in Altador during their downtime. Not me. After leaving the stadium, I stand outside and watch the team load up in their bus to head back to their hotel room. I make sure to say hello and thank every staff member I meet. One time I swear I even saw Azar from a far! I almost wept!
Honestly, I have to be the best Lost Desert supporter because if I’m not, who will be? How are we expected to win anything if we don’t have someone making sure we hold our banners as high as possible? How can the team be sure we support them all if I don’t remind the other supporters to cycle through everyone’s songs starting with Leera Heggle’s ("We’ll watch you struggle, struggle to get past Heggle, Heggle!") and ending with Luvea Trivon’s ("Lu-Lu-Luvea will get the ball away from ya!")? If I don’t make sure to shake the hand of as many staff members as possible after each match, how can the staff feel appreciated enough to pass on that sense of morale to the team? They need me.
See, the thing no one understands about the Altador Cup is that it’s more than just a tournament. These teams are more than just players passing a Yooyu around. The Lost Desert team and its supporters are like family… except better.
My mom once told me that she never picked a yooyuball team. It was never her thing. She’s a no-nonsense accountant who never dreamed of dropping thousands of Neopoints to take her family to Altador every summer for a month.
But the Lost Desert picked *her*.
One fateful day, as she watched all her brothers and sister shout at a television screen while Faerieland and the Lost Desert met head-to-head in Altador Cup II, something stirred inside her. What got her blood boiling wasn’t the flurry of pink surrounding her or Kakoni Worrill’s artful command of the yooyu. It was the straightforward, no-frills plays of the Lost Desert side that beckoned her with their sensibility. That night, eight years ago, my mom was the sole person in the room who yelped with joy when the yooyu went flying into the back of Valtonous Rea’s net.
I am the embodiment of that legacy.
I am the quintessential Lost Desert supporter.
So how can I even begin to tell you what the Altador Cup truly means?