ESPN’s 8 for 8: The Jurassic Classic

Narrator: And now, ESPN presents…its Humie-award-winning series, “8 for 8”: 8 weekly 8-minute documentaries over the course of the regular season of the most popular league in the most popular sport in the universe. Welcome to Blood Bowl in the Mead & Mayhem League.

Narrator: The sun rises over the dew-covered grass of Jurassic Park, home field to two popular teams, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Lizards and the Hissstory of Violence. The sounds of armour crashing and lizardmen cheering are already thundering across the field, which is packed with running, blocking, passing, and catching skinks, sauri, and kroxigors. Normally, only one team inhabits the field at a time, based on which team is away that week, or on a predetermined schedule agreed to in advance by the teams. But this week is different. This week, both teams are scheduled to play each other, on this field, in what has been dubbed the “Jurassic Classic.”

Serious Jest, Coach, TMNL: It seems we couldn’t agree on a practice schedule this week. Nobody wanted to give up that home field advantage. So both teams showed up at the crack of dawn, staked out their side of the pitch, and we’ve been going to work, staring each other down across midfield. It’s kinda weird practicing at the same time, field all crowded, only getting half a pitch to work with, but doesn’t look like anyone’s backing down.

Crow, Coach, Hissstory of Violence: Some people believe Blood Bowl is a matter of life and death. I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that. The Jurassic Classic will prove it. After tasting their first ever defeat last week, my boys will be itching to get back to winning ways. And there’s no win quite as sweet as one over your hometown rivals. Northerners and Southerners are natural enemies. Just like Lizards and Gnomes. Or Lizards and Elves. Or Lizards and other Lizards.

Serious Jest: Tension’s been high between the north and south sides of the island since we got to Isla Nublar. At first, we didn’t even really understand what we were walking into.

Narrator: TMNL started out as a Farm team out of East Ruthersaurd, New Zardsey, about 20 minutes outside of New Orc City.

Spermadactyl, Team Captain, TMNL: Most of us were local Zardsey kids and had never left the local area, so it was both really exciting and intimidating when we were informed that a spot had opened up on the MML pro circuit, but we’d have to play in the East Division.

Narrator: For one player, however, the trip across the pond was actually…a homecoming.

Killmono Dragon, Player, TMNL: I was born on Isla Nublar and grew up there for most of my childhood. My father was a community organizer on the North side of the island. Parstown X III came and set up a factory on the South side. That’s when things changed.

Narrator: Isla Nublar was a simple, secluded island of which most of the world had not heard. While technology was practically primitive on the island and it was considered poor by the Bank of Altdorf’s credit rating standards, Nublarians lived simply and believed in “Qxuanta Nublar,” which translates roughly to “we are all one Nublar”.

Komodo Joe, Player, Hissstory of Violence: Everybody helped each other. There wasn’t even a really a translation for the word “mine” in Nublanese. At least that’s the way my mother used to tell it.

Narrator: Joe’s mother, Khaleesi Muderov Dragon, was a respected Southie hunter who became a housing developer once Parstown X came to town. Her brother, Bruce Lee Dragon, was Killmono’s father.

Killmono: My dad wasn’t always a community organizer. He was actually a martial artist who led the most respected dojo in all of Isla Nublar. But once Parstown X showed up, things started to change.

Narrator: What the rest of the world saw as a poor community, Parstown X saw as a mountain of undiscovered natural resources…but at whose expense?

Killmono: They wanted to bleed the island dry, but how were they going to get the people to go along with it? They couldn’t take it by force, so they turned us against each other.

Narrator: Parstown X invested heavily in South Nublar, building technological infrastructure, developing an advanced education system, and clearing away vast amounts of jungle to build state-of-the-art luxury condominiums. As a result, jobs multiplied a thousand times over, the economy grew, the Bank of Altdorf introduced cyans to the island, and tribal councils were replaced by bureaucrats. These investments were limited to South Nublar, however, and a rift began developing between the lizardmen of the North and their countrymen to the South.

Killmono: All of a sudden, Southies were wearing fancy clothes and driving expensive vehicles. Instead of hunting for food, they began to mass-produce it, growing animals in cages small enough so that they couldn’t move, injecting them with weird hormones…it was gross.

Narrator: It wasn’t long before the division between North Nublar and South Nublar became more than just ideological. Excavation on the south side of the island began to affect water flow in the North. Air pollution from the Parstown factories began to drift over Northern jungle. But the last straw for many North Nublarians was the development of land ownership rights. The South Nublar bureaucrats had formed a bicameral governing body called Congresss, which was divided into the Saurnate and the Houssse of Represkinkatives. Congresss claimed to encompass representatives from all over Isla Nublar, but many Northerners complained that their representatives had lived in their areas for very short periods of time, or that they were bribed by the South to vote for laws beneficial to the South or to Parstown X. Soon, Congresss began passing laws declaring that, under a principle named “eminent domain,” the new government could exercise control over all land on the island and distribute that land as it saw fit.

Killmono: The Krox representing our district lived in South Nublar his entire life, but he had vacationed in a nearby jungle 20 years earlier for 6 months, so they claimed that that qualified him to represent us. He was giving land away to his friends, to lizards he owed favors to, or to lizards who he wanted to owe him a favor. All of a sudden, we were being told that our home was no longer our home…that we had to pay somebody in South Nublar, somebody who had never even set foot in our district, for the right to live there. Well, my father had had enough. He used to say, “The land belongs to everybody and is for the use of all. How can one person say it belongs only to him?” He started going to everyone’s home in our village, trying to organize everyone to take a stand against the corrupt politicians and against Parstown X.

Narrator: Bruce Dragon’s movement grew…fast. It became known as “Occupy Nublar.” It wasn’t long before organized North Nublarians were lined up in front of Parstown X’s South Nublar headquarters, protesting. Violence ensued, as Southies accused Northies of looking for handouts while Northies accused Southies of selling their island out for a quick cyan. The negative attention started to have financial consequences. The Bank of Altdorf dropped Isla Nublar’s credit rating as Isla Nublar began to be flagged on several other world governments’ HIGH RISK travel lists.

Crow: The socio-economics of the island are complicated. Obvious lack of lizard therapists. We have a history of violence and nothing has been done about it.

Killmono: As Occupy Nublar grew, and my dad got more famous, our family started noticing the goblins watching us. We’d be hunting for food in the jungle, and we’d spot one of them hiding behind a tree. Or we’d be walking around our village, and we’d spot them in the shadows. A few times they were lurking in front of our home, with a troll, a rat ogre, or even a Southie kroxigor. Dad had had enough. He sent me and my little brother to live with Pop.

Narrator: Killmono and his younger brother, Raarnold were sent to live with their father’s former sensei, a high elf named Killip Drummond, on the affluent Pork Avenue in New Orc City. It was supposed to be temporary, but, tragically, Bruce and his wife were killed under suspicious circumstances shortly afterwards. Dr. Elizardbeth Rodgers was the medical examiner on the scene.

Dr. Rodgers, Former Medical Examiner, Isla Nublar: It was a terrible accident. Their tongues were cut out, and their tails were jammed down each other’s throats. Yes, I work for Parstown X now. Why?

Narrator: After learning about the violent deaths of her brother and his wife, Khaleesi quit her job and took vows of silence and poverty.

Komodo Joe: I think she blamed herself for my uncle and aunt’s deaths. She worked for the Parstown Building Company, and she saw herself as complicit in the whole thing. We were living a pretty good life here while other lizardmen, including her brother, were suffering. She felt like she shoulda done someth–*voice breaks* It was tough on our whole family. I was constantly depressed. Used to cut myself sometimes…then I discovered Blood Bowl. It really turned my life around; instilled discipline; taught me things about my warrior culture that had been buried around here for a long time after Parstown arrived.

Killmono: Mr. D was everything our father could have hoped for when he asked him to look out for us…to keep us safe. Eventually, he adopted us. Dad will always be dad…and now Mr. D is “Pop.” *chokes back tears* We’ve had a good life in New Orc…a great life…but when I got the chance to return to Isla Nublar…to play in Jurassic Park, in front of my people…dude, I gotta admit…I was excited.

Narrator: This week, tension will be high on the pitch, but could be even worse in the stands.

Crow: While the players fight on the pitch, the fans will brawl inside and outside the stadium. The only time TMNL and Violence supporters are allied is when they are facing a common enemy; the police. Violence is a part of Lizard culture. It’s who they are. Outsiders will never truly understand. It’s a Saurus eat Saurus world out here.

Serious Jest: You gotta understand this culture. They’re warriors. There is no death more honorable than one on the field of battle.

Komodo Joe: Am I willing to hit my cousin this weekend? Yes. Would I kill him? Well let’s put it this way; I wouldn’t be in the team if I didn’t have violent tendencies. Some of the fans don’t even care if we challenge for the championship, so long as we beat the TMNL. Our families, our fans and our coach won’t accept another loss after what happened in the LIzzOff last weekend. Crow is a ruthless coach. We won’t accept another defeat from us. One time one of the skinks was concussed. The apo said that he didn’t even know his own name. Crow said “That’s great. Tell him he’s Hemlock and get him back on the pitch.”

Narrator: Despite being the second Blood Bowl team to arrive in Isla Nublar, TMNL’s popularity has already eclipsed that of their stadiummates, accounting for 8,000 season tickets sold, compared to the 6,000 for the Hissstory.

Skrank Papale, Northie Skink: The Hissstory of Violence was announced first as Isla Nublar’s new MML team. The rich folk on the South side went crazy…took the credit for them arriving…like it legitimized them gutting the jungle and building their big towers. Something about that felt like we were just getting told what to do again by the South…you know, who to cheer for. I mean, even their sponsor is Goblin Gambling. More goblins in Isla Nublar literally profiting off of the blood, sweat, and tears of lizardmen. So then when we heard about TMNL, a team with an unknown coach and a real blue-collar style of play, we kinda fell in love with them. Great way to stick it to those rich, entitled Southies.

Colours Jr, Player, Hissstory of Violence: I didn’t grow up here but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the importance of this match. Sometimes it’s about oppression, historical schisms, civic pride, cultural divergence, identity. At other times it’s just about reveling in the misfortune of someone else. I’m expecting nothing short of an ill-tempered affair, marred by pitch invasions, fighting and a poisonous atmosphere.

Narrator: This week, the battle between North Nublar and South Nublar comes to a head. Will it be cathartic? Or will it break out into full-scale civil war? Tune in for the first, and possibly the last, Jurassic Classic!