Old Boys Employ Virtual Reality To Good Effect

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By FRASER HOPE

DRIFTWOOD CONTRIBUTOR

Old Boys individually and in group session therapy have fully embraced the teachings of Buddha in an attempt to master the Inner Self. Cleansed of the self doubt of two successive defeats they mustered at Fulford terminal determined seek the true path to celestial peace and of course victory!

Some players skeptical of this approach convinced team management to invest in, as back up to Team Bikram Zen Yoga, the latest IT to improve results: virtual reality. Each team member picked their superstar of choice. A profile was loaded into the virtual reality chamber where it could be emulated and moves of the very best players in the world practised without having to endure the hard gym of midweek workouts. Readers can speculate on each Old Boys choice as to their VR mentor (Send answers on a postcard to the editor of the Driftwood.)  

Dave Eadie, as our resident physicist and mathematician, took his own approach to explaining the lack of power and direction of Old Boys shooting of late. Adapting the theory of the Austrian scientist Christian Andreas Doppler (1803-1853), Eadie hypothesized that the pressure wave formed by his powerful swing at the ball caused a deviation in flight ensuring that the shot went wide of the goals. He has since been practising a much smoother, gentler kicking action that should provide newfound accuracy and a netful of goals. After an initial pregame warm-up he quickly abandoned his ”dopple” theory. Whilst the shot was more accurate and on target, the ball barely dribbled towards goal. Back to the drawing board, Eadie.  No sausage rolls for you!

The final new arrow in “Willi” Tweddle’s managerial quiver was the ability to lock and unlock security ankle bracelets on Ben Cooper and Donny Brown. It was decided that as one of main attackers was on a personal retreat and unavailable, Brown should be unshackled and allowed a role in reviving the Old Boys attack. As for Cooper, his ankle bracelet was locked to prevent his passing beyond the half-way line in an attempt to bring some discipline to his play as well as providing his fellow players with some idea where they might be at any one time on the field.

A good luck sign for the Old Boys was the welcome appearance on the bench as a spectator of Dennis Shaw, recuperating from surgery to a lower body injury.

Instead of the normal game cheer the Old Boys huddled and gave a collective “Ommmh” in acknowledgement of the collective will to vanquish the demons of the last few games. Would yoga, zeb, VR and electronic monitoring provide a path to victory?  

Old Boys suitably warmed up, an hour before kickoff, started well passing the ball forward but were soon on the defensive as a fast man marking Cordova Bay squad caused disarray in the tactics carefully practised in the VR chamber. Gradually, as feeling returned to the brain and legs, the VR technology began to take effect.  You would have sworn that it was Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba and Modric in Old Boys shirts out there using their skills to mesmerize the opposition. No, not really, but it gave the Old Boys confidence to think they were making “. . . moves like Jagger!” (Christina Aguilera and Maroon 5, 2010.)

Unfortunately the IT had not run the VR programs sufficiently to iron out all the kinks as they looked like they were performing at the Palais (Hammersmith Palais, 1984) rather than on the Lochside pitch, i.e. pretty static. So static that against the run of play and possession, Cordova Bay with a speculative through pass avoided the half-hearted Old Boys offside trap and took a 1-0 lead.

Now then Buddha, what next?

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” Wise words, but would Old Boys gather the Inner Strengths as a response?

“O ye of little faith.”The Old Boys came storming back, throwing off their VR vision headsets and playing instinctively as Old Boys of old launched a coordinated attack that would have put Haig and his generals to shame. The young Dave McColl provide a cultured, finely judged pass to spring the now unencumbered Donny Brown to pectorally direct the ball past a deceived CB goalkeeper to even the score. “Move and the way will open.”— Zen proverb.

Half-time saw the IT crew and the Old Boys’ resident yogi give technical tweets to the ankle bracelets and invoking advice to ensure the body and mind are disciplined and the soul liberated. Meanwhile, Willi Tweddle was speaking tongues.  Apparently the French instructions were his part in the re-education process preparing for the addition of newly available Thierry Henri to the Old Boys coaching staff at the January transfer deadline.

“Alley! Allez! Les Old Boys!” Nobody was listening! All were in a transcendental meditative trance in preparation for the final 45 minutes.

Proving the shining light was not just a flash in the pan, the Old Boys completely dominated a well-organized CB team with various attacks, giving Big Tony in the CB net lots to contend with from a Brown shot off the cross bar and a Kerry Walker shot off the inside post, which miraculously rolled to safety. 

Cordova Bay summoned their own gods and gradually began to control the midfield and the bench and the small group of travelling fans nervously awaited a potential meltdown. At one point “hacks” appeared in Cooper’s software as he suddenly started on a run from deep in defence in a straight line but a sudden glitch saw him make a 90-degree right turn directly into a group of defenders when the obvious option was to carry directly to goal. Cooper was substituted immediately and was put through technical and spiritual reboot at the team bench. Phew! What damage could have been inflicted to the officials, opposition and Old Boys if the “hack” had not been corrected.

With team confidence revived, Richard the Wall Steel rushed out to engage with a CB striker in alone on goal and managed to get a hand to the shot to deflect it to safety. It was Steel carrying on from where he left off last week! Thank goodness.  The S & M Yoga specifically designed for goal keepers certainly has paid for itself with sterling performances. (Note: Speed & Movement Yoga can be experienced on island. See the Wellness Pages in the Driftwood.) This galvanized the Old Boys to break the deadlock and for the last 10 minutes of the game peppered the CB goal but Big Tony stood tall, about 6 feet, 3 inches tall, in goal.  

A long cross field pass from Tweddle found McColl, who neatly turned the ball into the middle where Mark Aston released a streaking Mike McCormick to put the Old Boys into the lead 2-1. In an attempt to snuff out any CB equalizer, Old Boys continued to attack with Tweddle now quite comfortable in his bilingual powers, urging,”La meilleure forme de défense est l’attaque!” Some would say that Tweddle was in fact trilingual?

A Walker header saw McCormick find the goalpost and be cleared to safety. The crossbar and goalposts were awarded MVP for CB on the jumbotron screen. The bench, press box and fans jumped to their feet as Mike Berndt honed in on goal, but the attendant shrieks as he shot telegraphed a missed opportunity.  Berndt shoots! Berndt shrieks! Berndt misses! Kova, Hoeneß and Rummenigge won’t be calling any time soon, Mike.

With Old Boys completely in command, a serenity descended on Lochside, a fitting final for a well-played team effort with everyone playing a significant part in the victory. McCormick ran over to a group of family fans to ask the unofficial team photographer if his goal had been recorded. Unfortunately only his goal celebrations were on digital and his face was obscured as he performed the by-now-clichéd actor-pulling-his-shirt-over-his-head manoeuvre as in the style of Fabrizio Ravanelli of Juventus and Middlesborough FC fame.

Because of ferry departure constraints, the analysis around the soft drinks cooler was short but animated and it was only on the ferry where restrained reflection concluded that there is something to this meditation lark. Old Boys are suddenly “woke!”

It was a good day all round, with Shaw on the mend, Brown and McCormick finding the net, Scott Howe managing to avoid appearance in the report (thanks, Scott, for the sausage rolls — journalistic integrity and all that), and of course Willi Tweddle getting all the necessary parts for his Wiili Jeep he is reconstructing with hoses, connectors, etc.!

“The Purpose of Life is the Expansion of Happiness” — Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Old Boys FC Play Centaurs 48s on the vast prairie-like turf of Finlayson at noon on Sunday, Feb. 3.

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