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"(People) been counting me out

I'm counting my bullets

I'm loading my clips

I'm writing down names

I'm making a list

I'm checking it twice and I'm getting 'em hit

The real ones been dying

The fake ones is lit

The game is off balance

I'm back on my sh**

The Bentley is dirty

My sneakers is dirty

But that's how I like it

You all on my d**k..." - J.Cole, "Middle Child"


"You know, they don't realize...we don't HAVE to do this." - Patrick McGovern

"Sake-sake, baby!!!" - Joseph Zogoria 


Here we are. We've gotten through another session, yet it was a session unlike any other - the first session without our first and ONLY commissioner, Lenny T. Alba. While it's not my intent to belabor the point every week, it's just truth that this was hard on a number of levels. Functionally, emotionally, psychologically, etc. - you name it, I felt his absence literally all the time. From minor to major things. I will not-so-humbly say I think Topper and all of us did a very good job of running the league in his absence, but I'll also say that even after the session is done - it weighs on me that we even had to. 

It was no hyperbole that for me personally, the first half of the session wasn't too much fun. The second half was much better, so I thank most of you for doing your part in making it that way. Normally by the end of a session, Lenny and I are various levels of burnt out and probably anywhere from a smidge to A TON annoyed with each other. This session - I'm tired. But it pains me to not talk to him about the session and plans for the new one. 

I know. You didn't click this to be depressed. Let me move it along a bit...

I'll note that only TWO top seeds won titles this session -
Gryffindor (the villains prevail!) and Schilling 'Em Softly in Breakfast Club (anyone still scoffing at me from way back when I said Emily S. drafted a solid team? Didn't think so). While pretty much every team I was personally cheering for lost except for one (again, villainy wins!), I think it's actually super healthy for our league that the teams that were "supposed" to win didn't and others stepped up. That means people stepped up to the plate and got it done. That means we have some pretty good balance in our league, and parity. That means for all the crying and whining a bunch of you guys did, TOPPER AND I GOT IT RIGHT SHAPING THE DIVISIONS. And since none of you will admit that or give us credit, I will because - well, I have my own article. That's how it works - I can do that. 

I love that new "stars" emerged - in every division, players and teams that weren't talked about or recognized before were. I love that you guys, for the most part, were really cool throughout the session and very helping and accommodating to others. Joe K always mentions TSL family, and it really showed this past session. I love how many of you helped out any time Topper, myself, or anyone else asked or needed it. Lenny would've been proud at the little and big things you guys did. And you deserve credit and recognition. 

Y'know - the quote from Topper up above? It's 100% true and correct. Topper never had to do this, and never HAS to. He and Lenny did it as a labor of a love, and that always needs to be kept in mind and recognized. But with that said - do you know what my response to him was when he said that? I'm paraphrasing myself, but pretty much this:

"The majority of our league appreciates what we do and have been more vocal and grateful than I've ever seen them. Honestly, the jerks and idiots make up about 5-10% at max. It's just that they're vocal and draw attention cuz...they're jerks. But 90-95% of our league gets it, and they've been really going out of their way to show it and say so. So let's not let the a$$holes overshadow things."

And Topper agreed. 

I'm not
The Sentinel so I'm not going to recap and break down any games. But I want to give credit to all the teams who won, cuz every one of them TOOK their championship. they went after it and GOT it. Special props to Marketing Mayors and Cunning Stunts, who most just assumed had a best chance of keeping it close, not actually winning. As I was the 3rd ref on the PE/MM game - you know how many people did a double take or said "WHAT?!?" when I told them MM was winning? Yes, the Disney ending was PE winning it for The Gipper. but reality is a cold mistress, and fairy tale endings are never guaranteed. That's why they play the games. As for the stunts - they were passionate. They WANTED that victory. Joey Batts told me that's the first time the Stunts have ever beaten Matty's Angels. Hell of a time to turn it on, huh? I'm proud of them. Brandy Clarke has never been more passionate in any game I've seen her in. 

And Amanda Werth just made the TSL Hall of Fame with her catch THROUGH Lindsay Stoddard. She literally wrapped her arms around her like she was hugging her and maintained the catch as Lindsay fell on her. I've literally only seen that catch in a high level college football game. Amanda - welcome to the "all-time greats" discussion...

Coach Jay has always been in the all-time greats for nice guys - but what he did with turning pAssless Chaps season around was straight remarkable. After seeing what he did with them - if I am ANY team in ANY division in the league that has struggled to get over the hump? I'm hiring Coach Jay yesterday.

Time for a few end-of-session bullet points: 

- (Ahem) I was informed it's Katie SWANSON, not Katie "Swan" like I wrote last week. Call people by their names then, guys! Lolz...

- So...TALIA. Umm...yeah. I thought I had never seen her before, and was introduced to her Saturday...and then I was told some history and realized I had indeed met her before and somehow lost track of her in my own league? Ah, old age. But she's a lot of fun. 

- Joe Z's birthday hibachi bash was a lot of fun. I'm very honored to have been a part of it. It was just a bit...well, not my place to say. All that matters is it was fun. although it's the first time I've ever in the entirety of my life found out that edible gummy dildos on a stick exist. I'll let you guys ponder that, with the clarification that yours truly had NO INTERACTION WITH THIS ITEM WHATSOEVER. 

- For all and anyone who ever cries about who reffed where, what calls were made, etc. - let me clarify something for you. Every week, I personally scramble to get enough manpower to ref your games. Every week, it's not easy. If YOU want to run your yap about reffing, you're more than welcome to hit the streets and find me a dozen men and women you think are phenomenal who will be there consistently. I appreciate the job our refs do, I appreciate their willingness to spend their Saturdays putting up with you guys, and I appreciate the patience they exude to when it comes to dealing with you guys. The refs take it seriously and do a wonderful job, and anyone who just shows up on Saturday and runs their mouth about the refs holds no water with me. A huge thank you to every man and woman who helped ref this session, and to all of you who reffed SO MANY TIMES when you didn't want to. Most of you don't know/understand our refs put off their own plans many times just to ref the games. Which is why I take it personally when I find out you're acting like a$$es towards them - some of you don't get it. Thankfully, many do. 

- The wine tournament is August 3rd. Get your bid in NOW - we have VERY FEW slots left. Every team's captain should have the email for it - you can also check the Telegram app and/or reach out to Topper for details. It's a phenomenal day of fun. 

- Blind item: Let's just say after the events of Saturday late in the day at the bar - planned after-game get-togethers for drinks is definitely on the table going forward. No more to be said. 

- Please understand that Topper and I take no joy in making any disciplinary decisions or taking actions. But me? I'LL DO IT. No problem. Please don't try to be slick with player personnel next session. you're better off coming to talk to me and asking rather than Topper or I catching you. Cuz we're not going to go light. 

- That said, I'd like all teams who played to return. You're all welcome, absolutely. In fact, I'd like MORE teams in the Fall. Let your friends and family know. 

I'd like to thank everyone who took part in our league and did things the right way. In particular, I'd like to thank TOPPER for continuing to run this league and put it out there for us to enjoy. Never take it for granted, people. It's hard work, and he does it out of love. I'd like to thank Joe K and Val Bernal, who were more important to the league than most of you realize. And they helped any time in any capacity. Thank you to every human being who reffed. Thankless job, and I appreciate you guys and the fact that you really will bust your humps for Topper, myself and the league. 

At the risk of hurting feelings (NOT my intent), here's a short list of people who did things I feel warrants me mentioning their names (in no particular order):

Coach Jay, Emily Curry, Jeff Krol, Justin Garbacz, B, Billy Gunn, Matty Ice, Jason German, Karl Callahan, Matt Newman, Liz Newberry, Ricky Austin, Christopher Cole, Jeremy Burr, Brian Ferger, JJ (the ref), Cory Turner, Taylor Pagano, Mo Saleh, Dave Wilbern, Kyle Conniff, Mark Buscaglia, Joey Batts, Zach Newberry, Todd Nixon, Mike Salvati, BOTH Tommy Hughes', Travis Cleavanger, Joe Zogoria, Tim Dove, Thomas Marone, The Kellers, Paul Lovullo and the ladies of Come From Behind, Mai Nguyen, Axel & Katie Neff, Garrett Beesing, Steve Kensy, Austin Weber, TMA, The Buczeks, the staff and crew of The Angry Buffalo @ Rose Garden, literally everyone who reffed even one game this session, Val Testa, Cobblestone, Public Enemy, everyone who wrote any content for the website, Blase DaLuca and the majority of our great and wonderful league. 

As Topper has stated - we'll take some time off, and then regroup for the wine tournament, then ultimately the Fall session. Thank you for helping to keep the tradition going. We continue to be the best league in WNY in my not-ever-humble opinion on that matter, and it's because of you folks. We'll continue to try to tweak and improve things to keep it that way. Those of you who know how to reach me, don't be a stranger this summer. I hope to see you guys all soon, and I wish you the best of summers. 

Until next time - I'll be in the cut. 


- Rameer AKA "The Build"

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