Leodippos was very nervous. He was waiting in the cavern outside coach Evuccifer’s lair, deep into the mountain under the Cannonball Stadium.
From behind the wooded door he could hear the loud voices of Cabal Vision commentators and some even louder blasphemies: the coach was watching the last minutes of the match versus the Green Tide Titans and obviously he was not pleased of what he saw.
A last scream of rage followed by the noise of something breacking, then the silence.
“Leo come in” said the coach. His tone was foretelling nothing good.
As soon as he opened the door Leodippos watched inside the big crystal ball in the center of the room. The slow moving images inside it showed a bull centaur trying to dodge an Orc tackle and failing miserably, crashing badly on the ground as the refree whirstled to end the match.
“Do you know the guy with his face in the dust of the pitch?” asked the coach.
“Yes, sure, but… I am really sorry coach but I couldn’t dodge it and…” begun the bull centaur.
“Dodge it? DODGE IT?” the coach interrupted him. “So what exactly do we train for, here? To DODGE tackles? That green Orc leg, you did’t have to dodge it, you had to break it in 2 pieces!” he gasped.
“And what could that scheme be? What did you want to do?” he said exasperated.
“Well, I wanted to pass the ball to Pendraidos…” he tried to answer.
“To pass WHAT, to WHOM?” the coach was really upset now. He looked around, grabbed a beer pint which was on his desk and threw it towards the centaur’s face. Leodippos caught it with a single hand but the beer spilled everywhere. The coach stared at the bull centaur, thinking about something.
“Come with me. I want to show you something” he said when he boiled down.
Leodippos followed the coach throught the galleries up to the main pitch of the stadium. The Cannons were all in the field, training, they already celebrated enaught for getting a spot into MML Challenge League playoffs.
“Thabak come here, quick!” the coach shouted towards the sidelines where there was a kind of forge, with some assistant coaches working over a grindstone, sparkilngs flying everywhere.
A dwarf stepped out from the lot and moved towards Evuccifer and Leodippos looking carefully at the claws coming out of his forearms, checking at the edges with his fingertips.
In the meanwhile the coach picked up a ball and when the blocker came near he said “You can stop there”.
Evuccifer was about passing the ball to the other dwarf as he changed his mind. “Let’s try this way instead” he said walking towards his player and letting the ball on the ground just in front of his feet.
“Look now.” he said going back to Leodippos “Thabak, pick up the ball”.
The dwarf looked around him not understanding what his coach was meaning, then he saw the ball near his feet and stretched his hand… His newly sharpened claws cut the leather as butter and the ball deflated on the ground. The dwarf had a malicious smile.
Coach Evuccifer looked very satisfied. “Thank you Thabak, you can go back to your training now”.
He then picked up another ball and threw it to Leodippos. The pass was really fast but the bull centaur cought it easly. “And so what can we learn from all this?” he asked his player, smiling.
“That we must train harder in ball handling?” Leodippos suggested.
Coach Evuccifer sighed. “You are good at this ball-handling thing Leo, maybe you are the best player I have seen and trained in my team but, how can I explain this to you? We simlply DON’T HANDLE THE BALL, we don’t do this thing”.
Leodippos looked puzzled. “I don’t understand coach”.
“Before you joined our team there have been games in which we didn’t even bother to actually pick up that damn ball” said the coach getting the ball from Leodippos hands and placing right in front of his hooves.
“But doing so the opposing players could easly pick up the ball, get it away and score!” Now the bull centaur was completely incredulous.
“Yes Leo, opposing team’s players with their intact arms and hands could pick up the ball, and opponents with both his healty legs could definitly run away and score!” coach Evuccifer now had a fiendish grin on his face “Do you understand now what really was our main game plan?”.
“Listen, this WAS our main and only way to play Blood Bowl back in the days, but now you joined us and I must admit that we could try something different” coach Evuccifer smiled to his player. “No more dodging tackles Leo, this is a must-follow instruction for you, and lord Hashut only knows what I will do to you if I you will ever think again about passing the ball. But from now on you, and only you, can defintly PICK UP the ball!”
(Story written by and published on behalf of Evuccifer.)