Team Faerieland: Flying Frustrations
Faerie City, FAERIELAND - For anyone that has followed the Altador Cup closely for any number of years, they might have observed that along with the usual teams and a few dark Unis, a few teams consistently found themselves at the bottom. Faerieland, unfortunately, was one of those teams. After attaining a scathing losing record year after year, morale was low. The team felt like they were the laughingstock of the league, never taken seriously by any Neopian.
We managed to catch up with former right forward Elbin Towse, and we asked him about his feelings about Team Faerieland.
"When I announced that I would join Team Faerieland, it seemed like everyone thought it was a farce. I had no idea why. Was it the excessive pink? Maybe it was because Faerieland doesn't look intimidating at all? I have no idea. I felt like negative connotations ended up hurting us. We could win games, but we always had this cloud hanging over our heads. It was the question, 'Does Neopia and the Altador Cup committee take us seriously?' Such a thought set us up for doom, I think. It should not have mattered what the naysayers thought, but we let it get to us. It is unfortunate that the current team still lets it get to them," Elbin said.
Elbin's sentiments were echoed elsewhere on the team. The Neopian Times has frequently tried to interview the Faerieland team, only to be rejected because the team decided to cancel their press events during the post-match. They feared the same thing, not being taken seriously, despite our assurances that we at the Neopian Times would never dismiss anyone in such a manner.
Of course, such thoughts eventually led to frustrations among the players. Even so, Team Captain Kakoni Worrill warned about letting frustrations fly; it wasn't good sportsmanship. Despite the warnings, an unknown source spoke out against the Altador Cup Committee, speculating that the Committee had a grudge against the team. Gossip travels fast in Faerieland so within a day, Celandra, Fyora's servant, heard this rumor and immediately spoke to Queen Fyora. We succeeded in getting a few words out of Queen Fyora before she had to rush off to a Restoration Committee meeting.
"I do not know exactly what was said since we do not have an exact quote. However, if this is true, then I am deeply disappointed and saddened. The Altador Cup is an event that is supposed to bring unity and friendship through sportsmanship. Such speculation; it is speculation after all as we do not have any evidence of any wrongdoing, undermines that," Fyora commented.
We then asked her what she would do if the identity of the team member was revealed.
"I respect the consequences set by the team and the Altador Cup Committee. I do not wish to get involved. It is not my place to discipline the individual. That said, I would like to encourage this team member to come in and speak to me. Sometimes, encouraging words will do wonders in mitigating frustrations. I fully understand why they spoke out, but the comments themselves were not appropriate. I know the rest of the team is ranting about it too and I strongly discourage this. A team that is frustrated generally does not fare well in tournament play."
The Queen then apologized since she had to rush off.
Our next stop was Team Darigan. Team Faerieland had mostly good relations with Team Darigan so we wanted to see how they felt. As we arrived, the team was still practicing. Lord Darigan himself was watching. We decided to speak to him first asking him about how he felt about the allegations against the Committee.
"Team Faerieland, and Faerieland in general, is known for their integrity and sportsmanship, despite their frustrations. I refuse to believe any other rumors about what someone said. That is all I have to say."
Practice ended abruptly when the Darigan Yooyu decided it wanted a nap. We had a chat with Team Captain Layton Vickles.
"Layton, we were wondering what you thought about Team Faerieland. They are frustrated and seem to feel like the Altador Cup Committee has something against them."
"I heard the news. I think it's rubbish. It is a mere distraction caused by a disgruntled member of their team. Frankly, there is no place on a team for someone like that, someone who drags the team down with those comments."
"So you think the team member should be removed once identified?"
"Yes, you heard right. I said it and I'll say it again. There is no place for such unsportsmanlike conduct in the tournament. Our team enjoys our relationship with Team Faerieland and we do not want to see the whole team pulled into this mess. They should suspend or expel the team member. Expulsion may be excessive but suspension definitely."
Our final stop was the Altador Cup Committee. We wanted to know their thoughts on the allegations.
The committee was making preparations to have the field ready for tournament play. Committee workers were busy drawing chalk lines and making sure the field surface was smooth and safe. The team was practicing in a grassy field elsewhere. The stadium was for Yooyu training. Yooyus needed to be conditioned for the big tournament so that they aren't worn out during the matches.
None of the members of the Altador Cup Committee were readily available for comment or they were unauthorized to speak on the Committee's behalf. After waiting a bit longer, we bumped into King Altador, who was watching the preparations afar.
"Ah, Neopian Times reporters. I suppose you are here to report on preparations? You are a tad bit early this year."
We then told him our purpose. He left and quickly returned with the Chair of the Altador Cup Committee.
She was an elderly blue Aisha with many curls in her long blonde hair. In her hand was a clipboard with many notes about Altador Cup preparations. She looked a bit tired but seemed willing to speak with us. We told her of the frustrations from Team Faerieland and the allegations that the Committee had a grudge against the team.
"The remarks are indeed disappointing. We as a Committee work hard to protect the integrity of the games in order to ensure good sportsmanship. Our rulings are decided under careful, impartial deliberations. We do not show favoritism towards any particular team, nor do our game referees. Any team is welcome to appeal a referee's decision to us, however, we have the final say. Thus, we take our roles very seriously. We hope that Team Faerieland moves past these speculations and wish them good luck in preparing for the Cup."
We attempted to contact the current members of Team Faerieland, but our repeated requests for comment were unresolved. We decided not to pursue any further information requests as the teams are busy practicing for the Cup. We hope all Neopians enjoy the Altador Cup this year. We are just as excited as you are to see the result of all the action.
Reporting from Faerie City, Faerieland.