A few years ago, I read the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. Without spoiling the wonderful story, I will say that what stuck with me the most was the idea that the Universe gives you signs as to where it wants you to go, and it is up to you to look out for those signs and follow them.
Despite Los Pumas’ well-earned Season 4 Championship, humans are my least favorite Blood Bowl 2 race. I find them boring, and, frankly, I feel like anything that you can get from humans, you can get from elves, but better.
Still, when the MML announced its HUMANitarian Bowl, I made a human team because, well, why not…and we went to the finals of that tournament. The rules of that tournament entitled the losing finalist team to 10 bTV…and when S4 ended, humans were on the list of races that qualified for the 40 bTV diversity bonus. So, aside from the 80 bTV that I had earned generally in the course of my 2 MML Pro seasons, I could heap another 50 on top if I used my human team…not a bad TV cap for a Farm team trying to go Pro.
Conversely, TMNL had sustained another death, as well as a serious injury, in its final S4 match, and its TV was down to 1500. Even with a transfer and a fresh player, exhausting its bank, TMNL would only sport a TV of 1630, well under the Returning Pro Cap, especially when you factor in my earned bTV.
So I decided the Universe was telling me to take my human team Pro. I could shelf TMNL, not play them in the Farm, and bring them back under the Returning Pro cap in the future, should the Universe eventually circle me back in that direction. In the meantime, my human team would come in pretty competitive, maxing its 1530 cap, which is pretty on par with the rest of its playpool.
About that playpool: I requested to leave the Wicked Forest Conference and return to my geographical homeland, the West Division. TMNL was a West Farm team that went East in order to go Pro. I have had some great times in the East, played against some great coaches, and even won the Conference Championship. However, scheduling with coaches located in East time zones was sometimes challenging. I would have requested to come back to the WFC anyway if TMNL was returning, based on the history and existing rivalries there, but, with the switch in teams, I decided that the Universe was telling me to come home and start a new chapter. It just so happened that a spot opened up right around the time when I registered for S5, so here I am…again, the Universe.
I’d like to briefly explain the concept of my new Pro team, the Greendale Human Beings, because it’s important that it isn’t taken out of context. I found it ironic that the human race appeared to include no people of color. I even recorded an “Observations by Serious Jest” segment for the MML ProTalk podcast that we never got around to releasing which posed the question, “Is this game racist?” Frankly, as a Latino male who grew up in the United States, I was tired of feeling like a cultural afterthought or an outsider. I even decided to attend grad school in Miami because I wanted to feel what it was like not to be a minority. So, my decision to name my players after people of color who were killed by or found dead in the custody of police under questionable circumstances was kind of a “F’orc you” to Cyanide…but it also inspired me to research these people more…to learn a little more about their lives and who they were beyond a headline.
Anyone who’s read my TMNL articles knows that I frequently try to insert humorous slants into my Blood Bowl teams’ stories. Obviously, there’s nothing funny about people dying at the hands of police. However, the players on my Blood Bowl team will not be written as their actual namesakes. The characters will be students at Greendale Community College, playing Blood Bowl for their University team, which has managed to break into the Pro circuit. Many of you will probably recognize Greendale as the name of the community college in one of my favorite comedy shows of all time, Community. The college’s team name is the Human Beings, represented by an androgenous, non-racial, creepy mascot, and a weird circular logo that somehow looks like an anus. It all fits perfectly into the discussion. Again, the Universe.
While not the same people as their namesakes, my Human Beings will still be inspired in some way by the people they were named after; it could be as subtle as having a character be overly concerned with his appearance, the way his namesake was. Hopefully, if you really start to like one of my characters, you will Google his or her namesake and research a little to find the similarities; and maybe, in some way, that person’s legacy will live a little longer or be spread a little farther. Yes, I said “or her,” because some of my characters will be women, who are not free from the danger of being a minority in the United States, either. So when you see these pixels of white men running around your screen with a Human Beings uniform on, don’t be fooled. My Human Beings come in different colors and genders. They are not restricted by an ethnocentric company’s idea of what a human should look like.
Here’s a little exercise to get you started: 3 of the Greendale Human Beings are not named after people who died at the hands of police or in police custody. Can you identify them?