The feeling stings deep, all the way through the tails of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Lizards. Led by rookie coach Serious Jest, they took the Mead & Mayhem League’s Farm by storm, amassing a 6-0-2 preseason record before being unceremoniously issued a ticket to Pro Season 3. No mention in any Farm report…red-eye flight “across the pond” to the East Division, where the beer is warm, people drive on the wrong side of the road, and there were no shepherds baked into that damn pie they kept hearing about…assigned to the Wicked Forest Conference, to which team captain Spermadactyl reacted, “Ninja, please. Ninjas don’t like camping”…and then a press scandal amidst rumors that they’re not really teenagers, which resulted in a public demand to inspect their birth certificates from the Dominican Republic.

These young, dumb killers couldn’t wait to get the respect that they deserved in the League season opener against the Leaping Lizards, a returning team led by veteran MML coach Doneagle_. They planned to make an example of the Leaping Lizards…to push them around, embarrass them, show them who the alpha lizards were in the East…like walking onto the prison yard, finding the biggest, meanest guy, and knocking his ass out right in front of everyone.

And then the youngsters got a taste of the difference between Pro and Farm play. Their opponent played smarter, faster, and stronger. The dice were more merciless. And instead of rising to the occasion, TMNL developed the Blood Bowl equivalent of whiskey dick, once full of promise and excitement, now limp and useless. Tyrannosaurus Flex spent so much time on his back that he looked more like an ugly whore than a Kroxigor. Before they knew it, they were down 2-0, and Doneagle was offering Serious Jest tips (either because he felt bad or because he was rubbing it in).

So TMNL did what any self-respecting lizard would do. They started brawling. If they couldn’t win the game, they were at least going to beat these lizards up. Inflicting 4 injuries, including a dead skink (and a dead saurus, who was resuscitated by the apothecary), and outblocking the Leaping Lizards 41-34, TMNL salvaged what was left of their pride as they marched right through the few remaining Leaping Lizards into the end zone for a final-second touchdown.

“Losing is not something we’re used to,” admitted Coach Jest. “It feels horrible, and we’re not gonna make this a habit…but I saw some good things in that game. At some point, we got the deer-in-the-headlights look out of our eyes, pulled our tails out from between our legs, stopped feeling sorry for ourselves, and started making the other team feel bad. I mean, if you compared how their players looked after the game to ours, you would have thought we won.”

When asked if he felt bad about killing another lizardman, saurus Maimonychus responded, “What, are you stupid? I only wish their quack doctor had been more drunk and couldn’t revive Blake after what Gruntosaurus did to his face.”

Well, TMNL may have kept a shred of dignity…they may even have inspired some fear in the rest of their scheduled opponents. But they’re not going to get the respect they desire by continuing to lose games. Next up is another promoted Farm team, Royal Rat Authority, led by veteran coach MGiteau12. The pressure is on Coach Jest and TMNL to show that they can not only win fights, but win matches. Otherwise, they risk losing the feverish fans that they’ve inspired, and being dismissed as the MML’s Philadelphia Eagles.