Blacktip Island sports fans are primed for Sunday’s Fish Bowl, pitting island dive staff against local fishermen in a game of American football.
“It’s a long-standing feud,” Anglers captain Jack Cobia said. “Divers think fish are just something to look at. We fishermen actually do something useful with them. The fish, not the divemasters. There’s nothing useful you can do with a divemaster.”
As ever, the Divemasters are prohibitive underdogs, with the Anglers winning all 17 past meetings.
“We’d love to beat the fish killers, but we’ll consider it a moral victory if we can finish the game,” Divemasters’ coach Ger Latner said.
“It’s hard to find enough dive staff sober enough to stand, much less catch a football. Three of them broke their noses in practice just trying.”
The Divemasters outscored the Anglers in last year’s match, but were disqualified for using performance-enhancing substances when large amounts of Red Bull and Midol were found in their water cooler.
As ever, smoking will be permitted on both sidelines.
“The NFL has oxygen tents. We have smoking benches,” Cobia said. “Coolers of beer, too. It makes timeouts more productive. Plus, it’s the only way we can get enough players to turn out.”
The Anglers are expected to run their usual I-Formation offense, with a brutal running game setting up play-action passes.
The Divemasters will experiment with a 1930s-era single-wing attack.
“We call it the ‘Wing-And-A-Prayer,’” Latner said. “We can’t throw. We can’t catch. We can’t block. But we can run like hell. In short bursts, anyway. Especially when someone’s chasing us.”
“The game’s great fun,” Divemaster fan Alison Diesel said. “It’s like one of those old electric football games where you’d flip the switch and the field would vibrate and the players would bash into each other until you switched it off again.”
Mascots will be banned from the sidelines after last year’s towel fight between Fisherman Freddy and Ben the Grouper that spread into the stands.
“That was unfortunate,” Cobia said. “It detracted from the game. The attention should be on the on-field fistfights, not on a couple of costumed yahoos.”
“Ben won fair and square,” Latner said. “And our fans beat the hell out of theirs. This mascot banning nonsense is just a red herring.”
The unofficial over/under line on how many minutes of game time elapse before the first player passes out is 7 ½ minutes.