That Didn't Go Well: The Darigan Yooyuball Team
After suffering their worst result in last year's Altador Cup (ninth place), I wondered how the Darigan Yooyuball Team reacted and what their plans were moving forward into next season. I went to the Citadel to find them several months ago but discovered that they had left for the foreseeable future for training purposes. I was able to discover though that they had taken on another coach to help them out in their preparation for the next Altador Cup: former goalkeeper Mungo Lifler. I also discovered that Mungo had gone to Lord Darigan and received significant funding for travel and training in hopes of helping restore the Darigan Citadel to their former glory.
I finally went back a few days ago and discovered that the team had returned, but did not seem to be in a great mood. I approached team captain Layton Vickles and asked if we could talk about the offseason training. He said that he was willing to discuss it over a cup of coffee as long as it was my treat. I agreed, and we met for coffee a couple of hours later.
"Finally back and can get a good strong cup of Darigan coffee," Layton said. "Coffee isn't nearly strong enough in the rest of Neopia." When I asked how the trip went, he told me that while Mungo Lifler was great at Yooyuball strategy and tactics, his scheduling was apparently nonexistent. "The plan was to travel to all of the other Neopian lands to practice against their teams,” he explained, “but we did not play a single professional team in all our months of travel. It's a crazy story, but I'll tell you all about it.
"We first went to Meridell, where Mungo had come to an agreement with King Skarl to allow us to play their team in an exhibition. Things seemed to be going well when we arrived, except for one small part of the agreement Mungo forgot to tell us about. In order to play the Meridell team, we needed to tell a joke to King Skarl, one that he found incredibly funny. Tormo tried his best, but apparently nothing that we found funny, the king found funny. He actually ended up calling for the guards to remove us from his lands. Needless to say, that didn't go well.
"We next went to the kingdom of Brightvale. There we discovered that our new coach had not even contacted them regarding an exhibition game. We went to King Hagan to make our request, and he asked us to give him some new wisdom first. We did our best, and while he told us that he already knew what we had told him, he said that he would allow us to play his team once they had finished studying. Apparently, after only placing fourteenth last year, he was requiring them to read a hundred books on Yooyuball tactics before being allowed to play another game. They were only on book twenty. We decided not to stick around to wait for fear of having a similar requirement be placed on us before we would be allowed to leave. So, that didn't go well.
"Next, we went over to face the defending champions, Kiko Lake. Unfortunately, once again, our new coach had failed to contact them to schedule an exhibition game. As we learned along the way, he actually only ever contacted Meridell about one. In the case of Kiko Lake though, it didn't actually matter. Their field was flooded, and with more rain on the way, it didn't look like it would dry out anytime soon. That didn't go well at all.
"Even though they don't have a team themselves, we stopped in Neopian Central to see if we could locate anyone with information about the practice team. We figured that if we could find them on our trip it would help us get in some, well . . . practice. However, no one seemed to know where they come from except for a couple of lunatics who insisted the team was from a land made of jelly. Of course, we ignored these crazies and decided to move on, so let's just say about our quest to find the practice team, that didn't go well.
"We next went to Roo Island where we quickly discovered that the Dice-A-Roo tournament takes place over a two week period and no one really cares what else is going on during this particular time. Needless to say, that didn't go well.
"We traveled up to Terror Mountain and found that, after getting fifth last year, the team was very eager to play us in order to try out a few new things. We decided that we would have our exhibition on the following day. Things seemed to be going so well until an avalanche covered the field with thirty feet of snow that night. So that game, for obvious reasons, did not go well. Or at all, for that matter.
"We decided to move on over to last year's third place team, Tyrannia, and try our luck in a less cold environment. The issue we ran into here was the fact that we could not understand anyone at all. Since none of us speak Tyrannian and we didn't have anyone to translate for us, you could say that it didn't go well. After wandering about for a bit, we gave up on the idea of playing there and found the launching pad to the Space Station. Who would have thought that they would have one in Tyrannia of all places?
"We flew to the Space Station only to discover that their team was scheduled for an exhibition against Kreludor. We quickly got on the next flight to Kreludor so that we could see about making it a multigame exhibition. After the long flight through space, we got off the ship and headed to the Yooyuball stadium. Unfortunately, we showed up to an almost empty stadium. Apparently, the gravity adjuster was broken so both teams left for the Space Station to play their exhibition games. So what seemed to be a great opportunity to play some teams didn't go well since we didn't have the funds needed to return to the Space Station.
"We arrived next in Shenkuu, excited for the chance to play their team. Turns out that the Lunar Festival was taking place and no yooyuball games were allowed during this event. Because of this, we headed over to Altador, figuring that with their many fields, we were bound to be able to play there. Unfortunately, we discovered that a star gazing festival was going on there and people from all over Neopia were using the fields as campsites. So the moon and stars both messed up our chance to play in that part of the world. The whole trip just didn't seem to be going well for us.
"A funny thing happened once we arrived in the Lost Desert. Everyone was surprised to see us, and we discovered that their team had just left for our Citadel the previous day to challenge us. However, there was a group that came out and told us that they were a local team who would love to play an exhibition with us. They were called the Desert Scarabs. They were by far the worst team that we have ever played. However, since that game, we do seem to be missing some of our equipment. Not sure why. Also, Kep still can’t find her favorite watch. Guess things just go missing in the Lost Desert. Overall, that didn't go well.
"We next went to the Haunted Woods. Their team was glad to see us, but told us that we would be unable to play because some ghosts were using the field for a family reunion. Apparently, the team decided that interrupting the ghosts to use the field for a game is incredibly bad luck. They did that last year and then ended up as the worst team in the Altador Cup. So while they were glad to see us, they refused to play us. That didn't go well.
"We hoped to have a little more luck in Faerieland. Unfortunately, one of the Faerieland players, whom I will not name for their sake, did a quest for Illusen while the team was in Meridell for a match and Jhudora found out about it. Jhudora was angry enough that she covered the entire yooyuball field in thorns as a punishment. While our Darigan skin can handle it, the Faerieland team, and some of the yooyus, could not. It was a bit of a thorny situation and really didn't go well.
"We next sailed over to Krawk Island, but there seemed to be a battle between rival pirates going on around the island. So we chose to simply skip that and head over to Mystery Island. We actually had to outrun a pirate ship while leaving. That almost did not go well.
"During our travels about that time, we heard rumors that Lutari Island was floating nearby. We decided to try to find it on the off chance that they might have a team we could play. We think we might have found it, but after seeing the huge storm and the whirlpools, we decided it just wasn't worth the risk of getting there. Otherwise, that wouldn't have gone well.
"We arrived at Mystery Island exhausted but determined to play a game. We approached the first neopet we saw and inquired where the field was. They babbled something we couldn't understand and then walked away. We had started wandering around looking for the field on our own when we spotted that same neopet returning with a big pot and some friends. We suddenly remembered warnings about cannibals on the island and it seems we found them. We ran back to the boat as fast as we could and shoved off just before they reached us. That didn't go well at all.
"Next, we found our way to Maraqua. We expected the worst, and it happened. The bubble that covers the field to keep it dry had sprung a leak. It was expected to take around three weeks to fix, so that didn't go well.
"In our final hope of getting to play a game, we went to Moltara. It turns out that their field is surrounded by magma and those not used to that climate can't deal with playing a game there. Something about collapsing from heat exhaustion. They did thank us for coming and said maybe we could plan something away from the magma sometime. It was hot there. It didn't go well.
"So those are our grand adventures that didn't go well at all. We are now going to rest up here at the Citadel and try to actually get some real practice in, since we really didn't get much playing time in over the last few months. I have a feeling Tormo might have a few choice plans for Mungo up his sleeve as well."
Layton then got up and, after thanking me for the coffee, left for home. So while the Darigan Citadel has been working hard at getting games in, so far, it has been a rough season for the team. Hopefully for their sakes, it won't hurt them too much in the upcoming Altador Cup.