History Lesson #7: How to be N.I.F.T.Y. in Altador
Get ready for a 2-in-1 history lesson! In our articles and interviews, we've mentioned N.I.F.T.Y. quite a few times. So, just what is this strange acronym and why is it important to the yooyuball world? This history lesson will answer that question for you, but that's not all! Along the way, you'll learn how the Altador yooyuball league was first created. Let's get started with our lesson...
When the sport of yooyuball was first invented in Altador, there weren't any major organization and structure to the game. Mostly, games took place in rural neighbourhoods. People saw yooyuball as a hobby, rather than a full-time career. It was something to do after your farms had been tended, or when children had finished their school work. Eventually, the popularity of the sport took off. No longer was it simply trying to score against the other team, but players employed techniques to showcase their skills, and team strategies were formed to emphasize their communication. The evolution of how the sport was played also brought changes in how the sport was viewed. It was at this time that wealthy citizens decided to establish their own clubs to improve their social status in their towns. The difference is that these clubs were permanent, not the sort of game played during school recess or among friends. It was a permanent team that employed permanent players.
One such citizen went by the name of Niocar Tusipe, an elderly Buzz who inherited a large sum of money from her father's gardening business. The sport had been a lifelong passion of hers and she felt that it not only united people together, but also inspired others to achieve their dreams. I may not be as young as I once was, she thought, but I still want to be in the game of yooyuball. Thus, she decided to do what no other had done before her. She wanted to create a professional league. Spurred by her love of the game, she travelled across Altador, petitioning her cause to everyone, from landowners and farmers, to merchants and peasants. No one would be left out of her dream and mission of creating a yooyuball league.
Her ideas did not fall on deaf ears. During her travels, word spread across the land of a travelling Buzz and her zeal for the sport. Whenever she arrived at a new town, it seemed that they had already heard of the news. Niocar was gaining supporters left and right, and soon, heading back to her hometown, she was greeted with over 1000 people who wanted to make her dreams become reality. The Altadorian yooyuball league was soon established where the top 5 clubs of the land would compete in an annual competition, vying to be the best and enter their name into the Hall of Yooyuball Excellence.
The sport of yooyuball brought all Altadorians together. During the matches, everyone cheered as loud as they could for their team, whether they were young or old, rich or poor, and it was this spirit of camaraderie that motivated Niocar one step further. She wanted to travel to different lands and establish leagues there as well. Knowing it would be difficult for different leagues to keep in touch, Niocar first created an organization that would overlook all national yooyuball leagues. So, Niocar not only created the Altador league, but also started an association called Neopia's International Federation of Terrific Yooyuballers (N.I.F.T.Y.).
Let's move away from Altador and focus on N.I.F.T.Y. It is the governing association for national league yooyuball and has over 400 employees, ranging from those who are involved in the sport, to other areas, such as communications (ex. Reporters, photographers). N.I.F.T.Y. is led by an administrator who is voted to the position every five years. This administrator oversees the council. The council itself is comprised of representatives from different lands, like Krawk Island and Shenkuu. Each land is represented by four people: their head referee, the head official of the yooyuball league in their land, one athlete (chosen by his or her peers), and the head of sports management. Among its many functions, N.I.F.T.Y. is responsible for allocating season schedules to the leagues, working with The Yooyuball Committee (who governs the Altador Cup), and confirming transfers of players between clubs.
It's not hard to see how the history of N.I.F.T.Y. is very much intertwined with the history of yooyuball in Altador itself. More than 830 years after it was created, N.I.F.T.Y. continues to be at the forefront of yooyuball. Since its inception, it has grown to include 17 leagues. With the addition of Moltara, it now stands at 18, with 72 council members in total. Neopia's International Federation of Terrific Yooyuballers is, indeed, terrific. It was the hope of Niocar Tusipe that yooyuball would become an international phenomenon. Between national leagues and the international Altador Cup tournament, yooyuball can truly be called Neopia's #1 sport. Whether you're watching Babolino score a goal from the clouds of Faerieland, or delighting in Krawk Island's Garven Hale and his clever saves, one thing's for sure. This epic sport unites all of the lands.
History Lesson #6: The time when Maraqua suffered a drought
From Kreludor to Brightvale, in every land there is a special school open for all pets who wish to become yooyuball players. When they first enter, they choose one of three positions: defender, forward or goalkeeper. They are then divided into different classes where they learn the rules of the game and basic techniques. Each school will teach similar subjects, but may focus on different aspects of yooyuball. The Lost Desert emphasizes strategic thinking, Krawk Island schools focus on scoring techniques and Tyrannia highlights defensive skills.
Some time ago in Maraqua, another year began and The School for Maraquan Yooyuball Players opened their doors to new students. On the first day, many interested citizens signed up but when the school administrators tallied up the forms, there was a problem. They had 32 applications for forwards, 21 wanted to be defenders but no one signed up for the goalkeeping class! Since this was in the days before international transfers, there was already a shortage of goalies in Maraqua and many of the teams in the league were forced to use defenders as goalkeepers. The administrators held a brief assembly for all of the new students and asked them if anyone would volunteer to switch to goalkeeping. There was complete silence in the auditorium but one pet put their hand up.
Ah, yes! You over there! What is your name, young Maraquan?" The administrator pointed to the back. A frail looking Gelert stood up and cleared his throat, "Ahem..er...uh...my name's Marshton Fellows..." And so, Marshton Fellows started his training to become a goalkeeper. He was instructed by the very best coaches that Maraqua had to offer and though he originally signed up to be a forward, there was no doubt that he had the potential to become one of the greatest goalkeepers the land had ever seen.
As his training went on, he earned the respect of many. His years at the school went by quickly and soon he was graduating with the rest of his class. When it came time to enter the professional league, Marshton signed a contract with Maraquan Marauders. In his first season, his team went on to win the championship title thanks to his determination and talent. Keeping 8 clean sheets, he went through every single game without letting a yooyu get past him once, a record that is unmatched even today. Even when Marshton rose to fame and his name was known around Neopia, he was still the shy and kind Gelert that everyone in Maraqua knew. His astonishing abilities at the net inspired many to follow in his footsteps and to this day, Maraqua never again suffered a goalkeeping drought.
History Lesson #5: The Farmers and their fans
It wasn't that long ago in Meridell's history when the future of one yooyuball team was threatened. The Farmers Fraternity, based in a small rural town, was a modest team that had experienced little success. When it came time for administrators to form Meridell's professional yooyuball league, one of the proclamations was that in order to become registered as an official squad in the league, they must have their own stadium. There was one problem: The Farmers Fraternity had no stadium. In fact, they had very little funding to begin with, using Neopoints from their own pockets to pay for all their travel expenses. The news quickly spread through the village where the club was based and a town meeting was called. The people of the town all supported their club but what could they do? Someone in the front row asked, "what about Peasant Peoples United? They're a yooyuball team without a stadium and the King is not complaining!"
The mayor answered, "True, but they've argued that the land they play on was once the home of the legendary Gaius Brikthin. It's a historic site with a lot of importance in Meridell. Tell us, Jarfin, what will happen if you do not find a stadium?" Jarfin, captain of The Farmer's Fraternity sighed, "I'm afraid...the team will be disbanded." Everyone gasped and looked at the members of the team, who were not only yooyuball players that represented their town, but were also their friends. "We can't let that happen," someone shouted, "we've got to do something!" Another supporter by the name of Retho said, "I'll get together some of my best workers! We can supply the lumber to build the frame of the stadium. I'm sure we can set aside some of our Neopoints to pay for it." A small Aisha stepped forward and said, "Well, I can't build anything, but I can certainly bake up some goodies for the workers so they'll have something to eat."
One by one, different voices rang out, each donating their time, talents, and Neopoints. "I've got extra tools I can lend. Finally, they're being put to use!" Another member said, "I'll round together some of the children from the school. They're great artists and I'm sure they can create a nice banner for the new stadium." More and more people came forward, "Don't count me out, either! I'm great at sewing so I'll make up some new uniforms for the team." Finally, Old Meraff, a lonely farmer from down the road, reached into his pockets and pulled out a few Neopoints. "It's not much, but I want your team to have it."
At the end of their town meeting, the donations had reached 12,501 Neopoints and everyone had been assigned jobs for the next day. Within a few weeks, construction was complete and the 2000-seat stadium was built. The Farmers Fraternity was then inducted into the national Meridell league and became an official team. The team now had a new status, new uniforms, and a new stadium, but there was one thing that had from the beginning: loyal fans.
History Lesson #4: The story of Gaius Brikthin
Yooyuball players are remembered for many reasons. Perhaps they are great defenders, never letting an opponent get past them. Some excel in scoring, skilfully manoeuvring their way past their rivals and putting the yooyu into the back of the net. For some players, like Gaius Brikthin, they are known not only for their yooyuball talent, but also for their compassionate character. Meridell's Gaius Brikthin is described as being the greatest yooyuball player of his day and even in modern times, he has gained a mythical status in the game. While he rose to fame playing for Noble Yooyu in Meridell, it was the event of his departure that solidified his legendary stature. After declining to return to Noble Yooyu, Gaius' passion for yooyuball never waned and he decided to create his own team and give anyone who wanted to play a chance. Thus, Peasant Peoples United was formed. Reports of a new team soon spread across the land and many flocked to Brikthin's neighbourhood to see his developments. Using the money he earned from his time at Noble Yooyu, he purchased uniforms and equipment, but was unable to build a home stadium. Instead, he cleared his backyard and the team played in the dirt field.
After establishing the team, Gaius and the rest of Peasant Peoples United were admitted to the Meridell professional yooyuball league as one of the five teams competing for the championship title. At the end of the season, Noble Yooyu and Peasant Peoples United were tied on points and on number of goals scored. In order to determine the winner, the two teams must play one final game of yooyuball against each other. Noble Yooyu had yet to relax their admission policies, allowing only royalty and nobles into their team. Gaius knew that that if he and his team were able to defeat Noble Yooyu, he could perhaps persuade them to see reason and not focus on something as trivial as lineage. The game took place at Noble Yooyu's home arena and many of their supporters showed up in great numbers.
Gaius advised his team to give their best effort and they entered the match. After a gruelling 55 minutes, the score remained 0-0. With 5 minutes left, Gaius and his team regrouped and made one final push for a goal. The yooyu was passed to Gaius and with seconds remaining, he shot the yooyu with tremendous speed past the goalkeeper into the net. Several things happened at once. The referee blew on his whistle. There was a moment of silence, and then a deafening cheer broke out in the stadium. Gaius ran back towards his teammates and they all jumped up and down in excitement. The final match of the season was over. Peasant Peoples United defeated Noble Yooyu, 1-0. After the match, Gaius talked to the other players about his idea of opening admission to anyone who wanted to join Noble Yooyu. The members of Noble Yooyu admired his principles and agreed to his suggestion.
The match against Noble Yooyu would be his last in the Meridell league. Following Peasant Peoples United's victory, Gaius Brikthin retired from professional yooyuball, insisting that he'd rather play for fun instead of having the pressures of the league on him. After that, he simply vanished. His whereabouts today are unknown. It is said that he travels around Neopia giving advice to young players but sometimes if one looks hard enough, he might be seen among the crowd in a stadium watching the yooyuball game.
History Lesson #3: Look to the skies!
A long time ago in Tyrannia, there lived a group of friends who shared a single dream: to find the giant omelette. Their tale began like this...
In their small village, they were gourmet chefs, creating omelette masterpieces from any ingredient they could get their hands on. One day, a strange traveller went up to them and told them a story of a mythical omelette that was said to be larger than their entire village. The five friends didn't believe him at first, so he just shrugged and left without a word. Afterwards, they began talking about the giant omelette and how amazing it would be if it actually existed. What if that strange Poogle was telling the truth, one of them said, we need to go find it!.
So, the five friends set out on their journey. After hiking through the thick jungles for four days, they decided they had enough and wanted to return home. However, the group of Tyrannian travelers were robbed by bandits at nightfall who stole all of their food and supplies. In the morning, they only had empty bags. Things looked grim. Lost and hungry, they stumbled and tried to find their way home when all of a sudden, strange objects began to fall from the sky. One of the travelers grabbed this strange object and realized it was...an omelette! Omelettes of all different shapes and sizes and flavours were being thrown from somewhere, but it didn't really matter. The travelers grabbed and ate as many as they could get. With their hunger sated, they gained the strength and determination needed to continue their journey. They had already gone so far and they knew they would regret it if they went back home empty handed. A few days later, their omelettes were running low. They would have to find the giant omelette soon.
As the sun set, the five friends climbed over the hill and gasped. There, in the distance, was the mythical giant omelette! They cheered and ran towards the gigantic figure and when they made their way home, they told everyone in their village of their journey. Their story was told around Neopia and soon, everyone was coming to Tyrannia to have a piece of the giant omelette. Their love for omelettes grew even more and they decided to immortalize this in the game of yooyuball. The five friends joined together and created a team, naming themselves Omelette Omegas.
History Lesson #2: In which the peasant became a legend
In Noble Yooyu's early beginnings, one must be of noble birth to play for this team. However, this presented many problems. Players of poor quality were being admitted and the club suffered major defeats, resulting in trophy droughts. This all changed with Gaius Brikthin, a lowly peasant Draik who had dreams of playing yooyuball. With the help of his friends, he was able to purchase cheap armor and polished them, making himself look like a knight. The time came when Gaius entered onto the field to show the others what he could do. Amazed by his skill, the knights and royalty cheered his name and welcomed him to their team.
After a few seasons with Noble Yooyu, Gaius was appointed as their captain and he led his team to countless victories. However, his identity was revealed one day and thus, he was forced to leave. The other members had to take back a noble who had played so poorly, he scored multiply times on his own net. The knights and other members of royalty went up to Gaius and begged him to rejoin them, but it was too late. He told them that there are more important things than one's lineage and did not accept their invitation to play with them again. The nobles, later realizing their mistake, opened their team to people of all lineages and today, Noble Yooyu is known for their chivalry, generosity and open-hearted nature.
History Lesson #1: The Golden Pharaohs' golden dilemma
This tale is told to all new players entering the Golden Pharaohs. In the ancient days of The Lost Desert, the Golden Pharaohs yooyuball club was established. They were funded by the Prince, who had a love for yooyuball that was so deep, it was said that he gave them everything they needed. Spurred by their greed, the five players asked for yooyuball equipment made of solid gold. The Prince gladly gave them what they wanted and wished them luck for their first match.
On the day of the match, the members of Golden Pharaohs dressed themselves with the Prince's golden gift. However, they soon realized their grave mistake for their armour and slingers were so heavy, they could barely lift their arms. They hurried to find new equipment but could not attain any and thus, had to make their way onto the yooyuball field, already tired from dragging the gold on their body. The match started with the Prince sitting in the royal box, looking onto the field eagerly. The Pharaohs' attackers tried to run towards the yooyu but they could only manage a slow walk.
An hour passed and the match ended. The Golden Pharaohs lost 32-0. After suffering such a humiliating defeat, they went to the Prince and returned his gifts, pleading for forgiveness. The Prince replied that he knew what would happen, but he needed them to know as well.
The members of Golden Pharaohs understood and requested for regular equipment. The next day, the Prince came to them again and distributed his new gifts among the players. Each of them looked over their new (and useable) equipment and when they read what the Prince inscribed on each of their slingers, they smiled. 218 years have passed and the tradition continues to today. All members of Golden Pharaohs have a small inscription on a piece of their equipment: "Skill and teamwork shine brighter than gold".