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And, with that, the Race for Social Co-Ed Football Immortality has ended.

 

The smoke has cleared, the blood has been spilled, the alcohol has been finished and the patios have been closed off to us for reasons. Beneath it all, we had some amazing finishes and a few surprises along the way.

 

If you didn’t know who won yet, here are our Official Topper Sports League Spring 2019 Champions:

 

D1: Marketing Mayors

D2: Gryffindor

D3: Slytherin That End Zone

D4: Puckett All-Stars

D5: Cunning Stunts

D6: Practice Squad                

BREAKFAST CLUB: Schilling ‘Em Softly

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

 

Let’s take notice, however, of the complete lack of #1 seeds standing tall at the end of the day. Only ONE top seed in the divisions took home the championship, as Gryffindor stood tall in D2/C2 when they defeated Bullet Club. The #3 seeded Marketing Mayors became World Champions after taking the throne away from Public Enemy, breaking the win streak when it mattered the most. #2 seeded Slytherin That End Zone had a crazy double OT win last week, before running the gauntlet and beating Peachy Platoon AND All We Do Is Quinn in back to back games. It wasn’t an easy feat, but SITE are your D3/R1 champions and they EARNED it. The numbers didn’t lie: Puckett All-Stars were a MUCH better team than their #8 seed ranking. And they showed it, defeating the #1 seeded End Game, #3 seeded Uncle Rico’s and finally the #4 seeded Buffalo Solar Solutions in the D4/R2 title game. Great last few weeks for them, proving they’re very dangerous when the whole team shows up. The #2 seed Cunning Stunts met Matty’s Angels in the D5/R3 title game that ended the day and finally the Stunts defeated the Angels like they always knew they could. The last game for the entire session let us put our talented ladies on display for everyone, and it was a fitting end to everything. Finally, in D6/R4 #2 seeded Practice Squad never got to play Jabronies, because Coach Jay and the white hot pAssless Chaps made the finals instead. That’s awesome, and it makes me excited to see their progress come Fall 2019! Practice Squad played great football and took home a much deserved championship!

Congratulations are in order not only for the champions, but for everyone.

 

It’s not a secret that this league was turned upside down a few weeks before the season when we lost our Commissioner Lenny Alba. For a lot of groups, losing someone that means so much to their success can be devastating. But not the TSL. Within hours of the news of Lenny’s passing, the league and its members started coming together almost instantly to make sure that “The Show Must Go On”. Many league members started to step up and volunteer their time and services, and just about everyone in the league had reached out to Topper, Rameer, Joe K, Emily Curry, Val Bernal, anyone on Public Enemy, or whoever else that knew Lenny close to simply say “If there’s ANYTHING you need from us for this league, please let us know ASAP.”.

 

The hole left by the loss of Leonard T. Alba is immeasurable and no matter how many people stepped up to help the TSL out, we’d NEVER be able to fill that void.

 

But damnit, we tried.

 

This season was, from all accounts, fantastic. Save for one little bit of drama, things ran smoothly. General complaining was down 17%. People offering to referee was up 28%. Topper happiness went up 5.7%. Great numbers and metrics, quite frankly. But jokes aside, this was the season that you could SEE the members of the TSL constantly stepping up and taking ownership of their league. People were cleaning up garbage, people were helping with referees, people weren’t trashing the bar or the property. All of that matters.

 

Lenny used to tell me during our long weekly conversations that if he ever DID leave the TSL, he wasn’t sure which way the league would go. He was convinced (as only he can be) that once he was gone, the league would either become a lawless wasteland or everyone else would step up and keep each other honest. Of course he assumed “wild wild west” where people convince Drunk Uncle Topper to let them do whatever they wanted. But if the last 11 weeks have shown us anything, its that it’s becoming the latter.

 

The Topper Sports League has always been the best Co-Ed Social Football league in WNY because of the people. It’s not because we have the most competitive football, or because we play behind a bar. It’s that weekly “awesome family reunion” feeling that we all get as we descend upon the Rose Garden on Saturdays. We are there mostly to see each other and have some fun. Then, occasionally, we play some football for an hour. The relationships we’ve created from this league, for some of us, are life changing. The TSL family is so much more than football, and the more stories I hear of people who met in this league becoming intertwined with each other’s daily “regular” lives keep proving it. In this league, people consistently go from “person I played football against” to “friend that I need to text on a random Thursday to go get a drink and hang out”. People who don’t stay long after their games with the league, need to start, trust me. If you let this league accept you into its fabric, you’ll be rewarded with so many more awesome people in your life. This league gives back and its always accepting new members.

 

And that’s what Lenny always wanted.

 

He’s told me he loves that our league is great football, but he loves even more how it’s a living, breathing organism that proceeds to make us all family. He felt like the glue that held it all together, and in so many ways he truly was exactly that. As soon as we lost him, we all felt that glue missing, and that’s when everyone as a collective stepped up and kept this league chugging along. Every single one of you are the TSL, and we’re ALL the glue that holds this together. We have each other, and we proved that this season by banding together and keeping thing on track “for him”.

 

So, thank you.

 

Thank you to Topper for keeping this thing running smoothly.

 

Thank you to Rameer for busting his ass weekly to Referees lined up for us. Believe me, it’s a lot harder than you think it is.

 

Thank you to Val Bernal for taking all of our pictures.

 

Thank you to every single person that stepped up to ref a game, give some advice when it was needed for league matters, to our Universal Sub List people that played for teams in need, to the people who are writing articles for this website, to anyone that’s ever picked up some empty cans, to anyone who left their car and DIDN’T drive home drunk, to those that drove others home in that scenario, and thank you to just anyone that showed up, played, and left, but didn’t cause a ruckus in doing so.

 

Thank you, from me, to my informants from the league that have regularly called me or emailed me things that are going on with the TSL during the week. Thank you, to those that keep guessing that those same people are The Godfather. We have a running tally between the informants of who gets accused of being Me this season, and it’s fun to see them all get called out. When your main source of information passes away, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to continue doing this article without him. Lots of people stepped up to make sure that I could, and I’d say it worked out pretty well.

 

Again, if you’re going to tell people in the league that we don’t talk about you enough, just email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let me know about your players and your team and who’s who. If you can’t go the extra mile to get yourself noticed, maybe you don’t deserve to be talked about?

 

Just a few last things here:

 

First off, THE WINE TOURNAMENT IS AUGUST 3RD, 2019. It’s incredibly fun to hang out and drink wine all day while playing football in a very unique location. There’s only a few spots left for it so sign up now!!!

 

Secondly, AUGUST 17TH is the current date for the start of the Fall 2019 season. While it may get bumped to the 24th, and it isn’t set in stone, prepare as though we’re starting the 17th. It’s a much quicker turnaround than usual, in an effort to not play our fall championships in the snow.

 

 

The first season of the “New Era” of the TSL is over. While the middle of March brought us to our lowest point, and for a moment, the future of this league felt uncertain and dim, this season has shown us that our future is brighter than ever. We have each other, we got through it together.

 

We’re only six weeks away from the next chapter in TSL history being written. I, for one, can’t wait to see how it’s going to unfold.

 

Be safe this summer. Until then, I’ll be in the cut.

 

Wait, no. I don’t even know where that is.

 

I’m always watching.

 

No, not that either.

 

That’s fine, I don’t need a catchy ending anyway. See you soon TSL Family. Take care of each other.

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