This is a story about the Yevon Cup. Any tips would be much apperciated. Still it took me some time to work it out. I really hope I managed to get the right sort of feel to the commpetition. I have left out three of the teams, because I can't remember who knocked out who.

The Psyches Boat

Nimrook looked at his team. They were the best team in the game. Judda was an excellent defender. This year they should bring back the Yevon cup. The Luca Goers may be the crowd favourites, but if this team lived up to its potential it would steamroller them. It was time to talk to the others. Time for some encouragements. It wasn't going to be flattery but just a simple statement of truth. "We have the best team we've ever had. Us bringing back the Yevon cup will show those fanatic idiots a thing or two. The Goers only have one good player- Bickson. Hit him and hit him hard, we know the play to use for the Glories's and Fang's."

"Swamp em." the team yells.

"Good. Now I wish to talk to you about the main threat."

"The Beasts?"

"The Beasts may have won the cup earlier. but that was only because they were playing the Guado's, who outpaced the Goers. They're one of the worst teams." He pauses as if to screw up his courage. He knew this bit was going to be the hard part. "The cup's a dead cert. as long as we don't face the Aurochs."

Nimrook shook his head as the entire team exploded into laughter, though he supposed he should have expected this. It was Judda who first spoke up. "Guy's, I think Nim's serious. The Aurochs are a real threat."

"They've lost the past thirty games." Eigaar pointed out

"For the first twenty, they had Chappu as a midfield who was let's face it - crap. The new one Letty is actually one of the best. He may shoot terribly, but his passing is near Guado level. Datto is that fast. Botta hits hard and Jassu is the all round-defender. Secondly they may have been knocked out in the first round for the last ten, but who were the Aurochs playing in the last five tournaments?"

The entire team groans, "The Goers."

"And never more than a marginal loss against them. Thirdly the Aurochs have always been an amateur team at heart. This has been to their opponents advantage, but Wakka is almost certain to retire after this tournament." Nimrook let's his last statement sink in. He watches as his players realise what this means. For once the Aurochs will be out for blood. This is very bad news. The Aurochs will perform to the level they have always been capable of, and even the Aurochs normal level was far higher than they had realised until Nimrook had shoved it in their faces.

"Now, don't get me wrong. They're still labouring under psychological handicaps. After all as you said, Eigaar they did lose the past thirty games. And they have a rubbish goalie. So we can and will win. But underestimating them would cost us the game."

Aurochs

Tidus looked at the team. It was actually a damn good one. And they had a string of losses. It didn't make much sense. Until he discovered the motto. They were at heart an amateur team - a damn good amateur team, to be fair, since they managed to compete at a professional level but still amateur. He would have to forge them into a professional outfit. Most likely to go was Keepa. Not very intelligent and if he could replace him he would but he was decent enough. Botta also possibly for the chop. His was brilliant at winning the ball, but had a tendency to lose it straight afterwards. The others all had strengths. Letty could make a half decent striker given time. And his passing was very good indeed. At least Wakka had taken the new motto to heart.

The amateur camaraderie he found he liked, but they needed to act professionally - in the water anyway. Datto was a perfect complementary striker for him. Fast even if a bit delicate. Letty needed work on kicking, so Wakka should really force Letty to practise on that . The midfielder should be a passer who can kick not a kicker who can pass. He wasn't going to speak ill of the dead though.

Wakka had done a good job reforging the team, all that was needed now was confidence. After Tidus had stopped being angry, he realised maybe Bickson was intending to be a jerk, after all he had a good team here. Psychological warfare, but he wasn't going to point that out to the team yet, he didn't want them over-confident.

Goers

"Great a professional motto. And why are you such a jerk to them?" asked one of his defenders - Balgerda, who had a crush on Keepa.

Bickson spoke up. "We have to undermine the Aurochs morale. We know that they're damn good and have been ever since Wakka took over the captaincy. He turned them round though no one except us has had a chance to realise that yet. We may have knocked them out in the first round the past five tournaments, but we only found one other team as tough to beat, and it's not the Beasts."

"The Psyches."

"Indeed. Remember last year?"

The Goers do, they had been completely shattered from the three matches they had. They did get the cup back. But the first match had been far harder than it should. Facing the gifted if amateur Aurochs, followed by the the relentless and professional Psyches was exhausting . Still the Goers massive defeat of the Beasts had kept them firm favourites. Just a one-nil victory against the Aurochs and barely avoiding extra time with the Psyches. Because of that they had moved to Kilika for stamina training this year, and thus narrowly avoided becoming victims of Sin.

After letting that sink in Bickson continues, "The cup will be held by one of these three teams at the end. We retain it. The Psyches get it, or the Aurochs. The Psyches are a tougher team for us than the the Aurochs. I really hope they draw each other. We know the Aurochs favourite tactics. And despite my earlier antics I'm actually worried about their new player. Wakka's a very strong Yevonite, and he's letting someone who says he comes from Zanarkand play."

"Which means he must be damned good or Wakka's desperate."

"Probably both. I noticed on the scrolls of honour Wakka's name now has a star. He's becoming a full time guardian." Bickson wondered whether any-one would notice the implicit statement.

"Which means he's retiring." Balgerda smiles. "And he wants to go out on a high note."

"Have words and lets get the Aurochs seeded for a change. And having to fight the Psyches. We want the Aurochs on the same path. Can you see to that?"

Luca - Psyches Dressing Room

Nimrook cursed at the results of the draw. "I should have known it wasn't coincidence the fact the Aurochs drew the Goers in the last five games. The Aurochs aren't as good as us and they got seeded."

"What makes you think it wasn't coincidence?" Judda queried. Nimrook could be somewhat paranoid.

"On our path, when only one other team knows how good the Aurochs really are? And just happen to be playing at their home stadium? This is designed to exhaust us, and keep the Goers fairly fresh." Nimrook pointed out.

"Or exhaust the Aurochs. The Goers got seeded on the other branch." Judda stated.

"The sin-spawned cheats." Nimrook swore.

"We cheat." Judda pointed out.

"We're Al Bhed, the fans would be disappointed if we didn't. You know that as well as I do." Nimrook reminded the team. Then gave advice, "When we cheat hit one of the forwards. "

"Why?" Eigaar asked

"Because that's who the Aurochs can replace next game. If we do this right we'll get the cup. If we do this wrong the Aurochs will. Imagine the humiliation..." Nimrook smiled.

"You said Aurochs are a good team." Blappa queried.

"He did, but they're generally seen as a laughing-stock." Judda pointed out. "After all they've lost every single game so far. And the Goers have been tapping into that to keep the Aurochs down, so they cannot admit they were defeated by a good team."

Rikku's view

I really hoped the Psyches would win the year. We had the team this year. No one would bet on us heathens. This round we were facing the apparently terrible Besaid Aurochs. The pre-match interview was simple and rather unexpected. "Our opposition is actually a damn good team. They've just had bad luck for the past five years, drawing the Goers in the first round. My personal feeling is that they are the second-best team here today."

The way he said the word luck suggests theirs more behind it than just plain luck. Obviously they finally realised I was right, the Goers cheat. It's rather too coincidental that when the Psyches are the best team there, our mirrors get seeded on our path. Yet at the same time for the past five years the Goers had always drawn the Aurochs in the first round. Still to actually admit that in front of the camera's seemed a little careless.

"Who are the best, then?"

"Why, we are of course." Massive amount of booing from the crowd, even more than usual for Al Bhed.. Saying the Aurochs are better than the home team. Honestly, Nimrook, will you ever learn? Though when the match had finished I realise why he'd given this warning.

The match started off as one of the most skilled, the Aurochs showing they had been badly underestimated, as Letty quickly snatched the ball and chucked it to Botta. Botta swam slowly back towards their goal and then lobbed it to Jassu who also retreated. This seemed odd to me until I noticed that Datto and Wakka had raced forward. Jassu hurled the ball to Datto, who weaved past our defenders. Datto is so fast that the blitzball circuit has a rather irreverant joke that says that Maester Seymour isn't the only human/Guado crossbreed. Given that, how come our comparitively slow defense caught up with him? And I do mean comparatively. Our defence is reasonably fast.

Judda tackles hard gainng the ball which I found much more expected. She gently wafts the ball to Linna, who then shoves it to Eigaar. Eigaar taps the ball towards the goal. Despite the fact he can see it coming from a mile away Keepa makes no move to save it. One-nil.

Again Letty pinches the ball. Though this time the Aurochs launch a more traditional type of attack. Just before Berrik marks Letty. He flies the ball to Datto. This time he lures Judda and Linna to him. Once they are close enough he launches a kick. Nimrook barely lays a hand on it. Wakka catches the rebound and smashes it into the back of the net. This time Berrik gets the ball And we start a relentless attack. Blappa shoots - it goes in, but just after the whistle blows.

In the second half the formerly skilled match degenerated into a brutal brawl. I notice the commentators only picked up on the Psyches' fouls - as usual. I can only comment on the more memorable one's though.

When the whistle blew to start, Letty and Berrik were exchanging blows. So the ball went loose. Despite this the match wasn't stopped, though it should have been. Eigaar got the ball and headed towards the opponents goal. He wanted to get really close but Jassu and Botta had sprinted to mark him. Despite the hard tackle from Botta, Eigaar kept the ball and booted it towards the goal. Keepa then reminded everybody why he was a midrange goalkeeper. He caught the ball and as usual chucked it down the middle. Letty grabbed the ball and caught the entire team napping when he took a pot-shot at goal. Even Nimrook was caught off guard, after all who would expect a shot from the terrible Letty. Despite Nimrook being able to catch nearly any ball, he can't reorientate himself well. The Aurochs were now in the lead.

Berrik snatched the ball and the entire team rushed to the Aurochs goal, showing just how relentless the Psyches could be. However Jassu stole the ball and passed to Wakka. Just as we thought it was over Eigaar illegally tackled a foot below regulation height. Pretending it was a wither tackle. This time he remembered to shoot before encountering the defense. Once again the scores were tied.

Again Berrik grabbed the ball- he shoved it to Eigaar who encountered Wakka, Letty and Jassu on defense. They used apparently normal tackles, except that their feet were about twelve inches too low. Who knew the Aurochs had such a dark sense of humour? Jassu quickly threw to Botta allowing Wakka and Letty to spread out. This was going to be the last attack of the game. Botta hurled the ball to Letty. At that point, as if by some pre-arranged signal the expression on the Auroch's faces changes from resignation to righteous indignation.

Letty caused the ball to fly towards Wakka. Wakka caught at and then barged through all our defenses, and hurled the ball towards our goal. At the time I wondered whether the legendary Auroch's Spirit existed for despite Nimrooks great ability the ball went in just four seconds before extra time.With that amount of time left on the clock it was impossible to equalise. A narrow loss before extra time. Quite an upset that, but then the Aurochs were fresh and for some reason - angry.

Nimrook

I was angry, very angry, that threat on the summoner had cost us the game. It had told the Aurochs they could win. On the positive side the Aurochs would probably misjudge us the next time we meet. It had also cost one task force. If I found out who had given the threat they'd be off the team before a Yevonite could yell heathen. Still Wakka had been far more damaged than he expected. Maybe I should watch the Aurochs after all and get an idea of how the new left forward plays. A new untried captain and an exhausted team. Perhaps we should have injured the right forward instead. The Aurochs were good tacklers and preferred swift attacks. But the Luca Goers knew that and would probably try to pass before that happened.

Insults are exchanged between the two Captains. As this is the final, Maester Mika will "Throw the ball in." An archaism of some sort, because here the water is enclosed in the sphere.

As expected the Goers tried to stay out of reach, their experience telling for a while. The passed the ball between them staying out of the Aurochs range, who tackle nearly as hard as we do. I was wondering if the could keep this up forever when someone ran in front of Jassu. The Goers know that was a mistake because, now the Aurochs gain the ball. Jassu wafts the ball to Datto. And they start the slow learning process, of how the new captain wants to play. They stay tightly packed as they try to pass the ball form one member to another. About four minutes in the Aurochs launch an attack. Somewhat half-hearted to be sure. Tidus's shot strength is incredible. I thought Wakka and Eigaar were powerful, but he is blinding. Raudy catches it and the Goers regain the ball but it is to late to make any difference. In the end the first half was a no-score draw.

"What do you think Judda?"

"They used the first half as a trainer. The new captain's skilled, even if he is somewhat disadvantaged. They'll probably go on the offensive next half, and launch the special attack whatever it is."

I agree with her but I'd better check. "Special Attack?"

"He's got a game winner up his sleeve. Notice how they never launched an attack until near the end when he took a pot shot. I just wonder."

Both teams rentered the sphere pool after the standard five minute break. Bickson gain the ball and this time they approch Botta who doesn't tackle nearky as hard as Jassu, Jassu is just out of range. The Aurochs have started defending well. Botta curves his body upwards and shoot forward, both gaining the ball and inflicting poisoning on Bickson. Botta passes the ball to Datto who is well out of it while the Aurochs reorganise. Datta passes to Letty, who just before the goers their floats the ball to Jassu and they start moving it into a counter-attack formation. Its one I recognise. The Goers are all heading towards Datto and Jassu. Tidus is free on the left side. He recieves a long bomb from Jassu and heads for the Goers goal. The Goers quickly realise they've been tricked, lured away from the danger man but their defence reorganises quickly. Tidus gets to the goal just after both Balgerda and Doram. Those two are good defenders.

"He'll never break through." I point out.

"I don't think he's intending to." Judda states.

"His game winner?"

"Indeed."

Tidus's move was nasty and barely legal. The kick hits one and stuns them. He punches the rebound to the other defender, and seems to turbo up and start spinning. No-one dares tackles him through that. From the mini whirlpool he kicks the ball which doesn't seem to slow down. Damn that'll be tough to beat.

"The Aurochs score the crowd goes wild." the comment says as he has to despite the fact their are only three Aurochs fans in the entire stadium. And Judda and I are too busy concentrating on the players.

After a little thought, Judda speaks up. "It's a close range shot. It won't drop immediately but when it does drop, it will drop fast. It also makes him vulnerable to tackles. Though usually he can afford to After all he'll hit you both before you tackle him. If three people mark him. He'll have to try and get through the first - which will be me."

"And that will usually cause a turnover."

We almost missed the substitution. Wakka enters the pool replacing Tidus and the Aurochs instantly become tighter, but somehow less threatening. The Goers equalise. Extra time. Despite their exhaustion the Aurochs are playing well. Bickson's the real danger in the Goers The Aurochs realise this and start marking him like no-one's business. The game is fast and furious. Tackles are flying everywhere. The Aurochs are desperate, they know their keeper isn't as good as the Goers. Eventually the Goers manage to keep the ball. It's passed to Bickson who for once is in the clear. He shots hard and it goes in with ten seconds of the final bell.

"The Goers win."

More by luck than judgement. The Aurochs were the better team by far. And their new captain looked to be good We get held up because of the fiend infestation. They think we're responsible. There's a more obvious suspect. The half-guado Maester Seymour. We may use machina, but fiend summoning inside the pool is beyond us. However we are evil demons and a maesters actions are beyond question. Because of both the fanatic Yevonites and the unscheduled departure of our ship, we have to head to Rin's for sanctuary. I am about to go to bed, then I remember the guy behind the counter's a blitz ball player, "Ropp, Are you available? I need a good midfielder."

"Fraid not, I just got recruited. As a defender." he commiserated. "An hour ago, my answer would have been yes."

"Who for?" I ask dreading what I'm going to hear.

Ropp gives me the worst news possible, "The Aurochs."

Damn, their new captains good. He knows where he's weak and is starting to cover his bases. And of course if necessary he can move Ropp to midfield and bring his midfield forward. Still he won't want to play Ropp yet. Keep him a suprise for the next cup final. when he'll probably face us. Still we'll win next time, Aurochs.

Epilogue

"We did indeed win the next game, though only in extra time after the Aurochs had equalised, their captain pulling out a special long range shot which fortunately could be copied unlike his short range. The sphere shot which in the hands of a skilled player can be shot from just past the halfway line. And the was the last win we had over the Aurochs, " Nimrook related. "They were now the dominant force in blitz ball, as you can see."

"The Aurochs a laughing stock, pull the other one. And this mysterious captain who appeared from nowhere what a fairy tale."

"Well if either of them can bear to talk about it, ask Cid Rikku or Most High Summoner Yuna."