“I thought we’d never come back from that one!” George told Mabel, who told Isabelle, who told Raffi, and all four of them breathed a sigh of relief, collapsing onto each other on George’s extra-large couch.
They each put down their Wii controllers, sweaty from the hour they had played Ultimate Volleyball in the epic tournament battle Raffi had suggested for their Saturday night activity. All four of them were pretty competitive but often the two computer players on their team were the ones who figuratively and literally dropped the ball, making each individual game more difficult than it had to be.
“Why did we even have the computer players on our team?” Isabelle asked, the most out of breath because she was the most out of shape among the four.
It had been a bone of contention from the very outset because Yan and Patty couldn’t make game night. Mabel and Isabelle had voted to play a four-on-four tournament, but Raffi claimed it wasn’t as fulfilling to win when it wasn’t a standard 6-person team. George had interjected that they couldn’t possibly be a 6-person team when there were only 4 physical people involved, but Raffi always got his way so they used the computer players.
“You know why,” Mabel said, staring hard at Raffi, who burst out laughing.
“What can I tell you?” he responded. “At least it made things… interesting.”
They had been down early in the round-robin format, losing the first match by only three points. From then on there had been no margin for error. Every point was important. After that first loss they began “backing up” those computer players, with very little rotation among them. George was designated the slider, and every time he saw the ball coming toward one of the computer players he would lunge for it instead, often colliding with that player, but just as often saving the play for the team.
“If George hadn’t been around we would have lost early, though,” Mabel snorted, still breathing heavily.
“I know,” George concurred. “I’m a beast.”
“You’re also in the worst shape of us all,” Isabelle teased.
On the television screen the characters were all still dancing around on the sand, including the computer players who seemed happiest of all for the victory. The final score of the final match kept flashing across the foreground, with the big question stamped on the bottom: “Save Results? Yes. No.” Raffi leaned down to pick up his Wii controller again from the shag carpet and pressed the A button.
“Let’s do it again,” he said, then ducked his head as the pillows began to pelt him like rain.