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Welcome, denizens of the Topper Sports League. The time for talk is over, and we're ready to start this thing whether Spring gives us actual warm weather or not. How does this play out this session? We've never had a session begin this way, with the beloved heart of our league no longer with us in physical form. But in true TSL fashion (and as he would like it) - the show goes on, and there are games to play. But what do we make of the current TSL landscape? What can we expect? What will we see? What is there to know for the unseasoned player, team or bystander? Ah...read on, true believers. The Build (trademark pending courtesy of one Matthew "Matty Ice" Ditullio) has the goods for you...

COMPETITIVE DIVISIONS 1 & 2

Oh - you didn't think we'd let y'all slide on this one, did you? Lolz - nice try. Last session, we didn't even have a D2, this session - let's just say we noticed a lot of strong teams loading up for a D2 run instead of even attempting to give it a go at the top of the hill. Enter...The Competitive Division. Similar to what we do at the wine tournament, we placed the upper teams in one division,broken into 2 sub-divisions where they will battle it out for supremacy. When it comes down to it, we feel like any team can beat any team on any given Saturday - and we also feel like steel sharpens steel. Competing against each other and having FUN will be paramount. It is incumbent upon the players and teams to make our competitive division as fun as it can be, and we have faith that you will. 

It also won't hurt that The Build will be watching. CLOSELY. It should be noted that the top 8 teams in all divisions make the playoffs (this means every team in Rec D4 makes it). 

So...how does it play out? Well...


In Comp 1, the obvious favorite to win at the start of our season is the defending 2-time champions Public Enemy. This team was already impossible to corral, and somehow it looks as though they've gotten BETTER. Ah, but rosters on paper never won anything, and they've got PLENTY of competition from the likes of Eyes Downtown (their hated rival who have also upgraded), Marketing Mayors, Tight Ends In Motion, XTC and...1 Todd 2 Many? That's right - Topper ain't NEVA SCARED!!! The fact that he's willing to take his team up against the best of the best should make all teams and players who duck competition embarrassed. Topper leads by example here. 

Comp 2 will be super interesting. Energy Buff, Money Ball and Title Shot would all SEEM to be new teams to the naked eye - but a closer look at the rosters shows that all three teams have significant veteran presence amongst their ranks, and some real studs and legends. Bullet Club, Gryffindor and A&A all boast their own studs and legends. Comp 2 can truly go ANY way on paper - to quote The Commish..."it'll be a WAR"...

PREDICTION: PE, ED, MM and 1 Todd are top 4 in Comp 1; Bullet Club, Money Ball, Title Shot and A&A top 4 in Comp 2. 


REC DIVISION 1

The new "D1" is stacked. Who takes the crown here? Do we go with 3rd & Schlong, with the unstoppable Katie Keller and the undeniable strength of the Keller bloodlines? What about Morning Wood and Slytherin In That End Zone, 2 worthy competitors? Do the young guns of Peachy Platoon and All We Do Is Qwinn have the ability to stretch defenses like they have in the past, or will they find a rude awakening moving up the ladder in terms of competition? And is The Build giving Sticky Bandits, Ultimate Warriors and Frodo Swaggins bulletin board material by NOT bigging them up as much as the other squads?

While I think this could be wide open, I DO see some preseason favorites. 

PREDICTION: 3rd & Schlong, Morning Wood, Slytherin and Peachy are my top 4 here. 


REC DIVISION 2

Well - this should be fun. A special emphasis was placed on really trying to balance out the divisions this session, and I think you guys will be able to tell. As such, pretty much every division is toss-up status. Who pulls RD2 out? You can't knock Uncle Rico's Time Travelers. They consistently get it done in recent times. At this point, Lenny would say "But what about League Icon DARRYL?", to which I'd reply "What ABOUT him??" Alas, I love Darryl as much as anyone. But I've  yet to see any life in the ol' squad since Garrett Beesing headed for the door. Maybe he'll surprise me. Doubt it.

(Note - this is the part of the article where I tell people to not take a rec co-ed touch football league website article seriously, as I have no beef with anyone. So save the sensitivity for Ralph Tresvant, please.)

This division is just loaded with scrappy, tough teams that play hard. It's hard to choose the so-called "top" teams here - but I'll give it a shot...

PREDICTION: Your top 4 here are Uncle Rico's, Buffalo Solar Solutions, Puckett All-Stars and End Game (this is based solely on their choice of name - don't let me down, guys). 


REC DIVISION 3


You ready for some fun? cuz I'm ready for some fun! A division with Matty Ice, TWO ladies' teams, defending champ Hope 'N' Ruin AND Uncle Topper? How can you not love it? This was my toughest division to choose, as I'm sure these teams are going to be beating up on each other. I might as well throw darts blindfolded to choose the "top teams here. Still - you're not reading this for me to waffle on who I think will emerge as the cream of the crop. With that said...

PREDICTION: Matty's Angels, Cunning Stunts, Vandalay Industries and Hope 'N' Ruin could be top 4. I'm only confident about Matty's, though. 


REC DIVISION 4


Well - there's only 6 teams in this division. So picking 4 top ones might seem unfair and belittling 2 teams, but since the build knows he's not trying to belittle anyone and just telling it like I see it FOR FUN...eff it. Yes, this division lacks the speed and athleticism overall of the upper divisions, but it certainly keeps the FUN factor in mind when the teams take the field. Again, Topper put on his genius hat this off-season to make things competitive - so this division, like almost every one, can go in any direction. That all said...

PREDICTION: Practice Squad, The Bambs, TMA and pAssless Champs are as good a choice as any to be top 4 here. 


BREAKFAST CLUB


Ooo - what do we have here? This might have been the most fun Breakfast Club draft to date amongst the ladies; let's see if it translates to the field. Very quietly, Emily Schilling put together a super solid squad, and if they can gel - look out. Not to be outdone, Kelly Liddle was pretty measured in her selections too. Okay - BIAS ALERT, BIAS ALERT - I'm on Kate Keller's squad, and she chose Topper as QB with her first pick. The last time topper and I anchored a team together (which was back when Atlantis was still on the Earth) - we won a championship. So yes, that nostalgia is coming to mind for me.

Oh - you guys could give a rat's arse. You wanna know top 4. Gotcha. 

PREDICTION: Schilling 'Em Softly, Natural Born Kellers, Bern Them All and Peanut Butter Kelly Time rock out the top 4 here.


Now stop. Take a breath. Again, realize this is ALL FOR FUN. Some of you just read this and are gnashing your teeth I didn't give you enough "props" in this piece. A handful of you "get" it and will joke with me about this when you see me Saturday. Others of you will play it off, but keep it in the back of your mind all season and throw any win by your team and a loss by another in my face as though I care about anything other than having fun, making sure the league operates smoothly and having a hard apple cider with Taylor Pagano at some point in the day. The point is to understand all of this is for you guys to enjoy yourselves on Saturday and during the week leading up to each Saturday. We put in a lot of work each session, and I think we've done a good job for the past decade in putting out a good product. 

But it's up to YOU to uphold it and enjoy it. 

Let's make this session rock - and carry it out as our beloved Commish always intended every Fall and Spring. As always, you know where you'll see me - on the fields, every Saturday from about 8:30am to 6pm (yes, I spend a whole work shift there if you haven't noticed by now). Feel free to buy Topper a drink every Saturday, too - he kinda quietly busts his hump to make this thing run like a well-oiled machine. But don't tell him i told you to get him a drink - be like Mike and just do it. 

 

- Rameer AKA "THE BUILD"

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