In the weeks that followed the recent and untimely passing of Curtis Wagner, an original member of New York, Pat King hit upon the idea of getting the old crew together to mourn Curtis, celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of The Greatest Team In The History Of The Game, and pass countless hours doing the only thing we loved more than beating our opponents into submission: rehashing the beating of our opponents into submission. It should come as no surprise to those who observe the way the world works that we could very easily be planning to get together in celebration of nothing at all. If life teaches no other lesson, it teaches us that the line between success and failure, between victory and defeat, between the Greatest and the Stupidest is preciously thin. At the time when Pat King’s email was making the rounds of cyberspace it had been 20 years since an event that no one has ever celebrated, an event that mercifully faded into obscurity just when it seemed to be poised to become the most embarrassing moment in the history of a sport whose history would not be written for another 18 years or so.
Liz Queler is a singer, songwriter, and musician who is talented enough to make a living at it, but back in 1986 she was an ultimate player who foolishly pledged her support to the misguided musical efforts of some fellow players. If she remembers it at all, it is probably when she wakes in a cold sweat from a nightmare episode of This is Your Life, with the entire professional music community learning with dismay that she once sang backup on The National Shuffle.
Patrick King is perhaps the most musically gifted corporate attorney you’ll ever meet, and one of the smartest people I know, so it was surely a low point when he hatched the brainchild that would become The National Shuffle. Still, we gleefully followed along. With Pat leading the way, and Liz providing talent, support, and a 4 track tape recorder, The National Shuffle was born.
That fall’s regional tournament was held on the
A combination Spot victory and KABOOM! humiliation seemed inevitable. In fact, had someone been taking action on the game, I doubt anyone would have bet on us, least of all us. We knew better than that, although we hadn’t known better than to record that stupid song. But a funny thing happened to Spot on the way to their first Nationals appearance; they forgot to show up.
In a game whose outcome still has me scratching my head twenty years later, the fresher, younger, more talented Spot team lost to a demoralized and exhausted KABOOM! team 19-12. Why? Is it because we were motivated by the fear of the lifelong humiliation we would suffer when word of The National Shuffle got out? Maybe. Who knows? But what I do know is that if Spot had won that game the ultimate landscape in
Perhaps that’s the problem with those guys in