Tag Archives: ESPL

Journal of the Emerald Specter 85: Projects, Projects, Projects

There has been a question about what the hell is all the stuff I’m working on in the background and how much time is actually being put into each of these projects. I have a hierarchy of what needs to be done before other things that come on board and I decided to write a little bit about everything I’ve been working on, have previously worked on that is still being considered, what projects have been added as future fillers, and what this all means for all the talking about doing things and seemingly not doing things that I’ve done on this site.

THE top of the pile, THE main project, THE thing that I’m interested in finishing is the BuJourneyRPG basic ruleset. The link there is the category, which is everything that has been tagged with BuJourneyRPG specifically. If you haven’t been paying attention, I invented BuJoRPG and BuJourneyRPG is the next step in that evolution. If you have been paying attention and you’re waiting for me to drop that ruleset, I’m not ready to release it. With another, related, project involved, I have to make sure that I’ve got all my ducks in a row rather than release with a headache of fixing things in post-release.

What’s that related project? Physical bullet journal items that I’ll be selling. Time is money, folks, and if I can’t make money off this then I have to work to make a living and work on this as a side deal. I’d like to have some BuJoRPG-related income (including BuJourneyRPG), which means I could cut some hours at work and put most of my free time into working on the two systems and physical items. The physical items project is being done in small bits. Progress is being made and when I have something to release, I’ll probably announce that with links and such when the time comes, but know that I’m not stalling for the sake of stalling, I only have so much time to work on stuff at the moment.

In the last column, I announced I’m considering revisiting the ESPL. That is a distant thing, really looking for a 2019 restart of that. How can I add this into the mix without having the above two items taken care of? The key is: I haven’t added anything. Once the ruleset and accompanying physical products are out there, I’ll have “fiddle around time” to work on logos again. Read the post if you want more information, but just know that I have this on the list but not on the “active” list.

Something that is going to be happening more regularly is the Specter Show. On episode 50, I mentioned that I’m interested in “catching up” with my releases and get back to where I actually SHOULD BE with the episode/date. Having said that, I rolled back my lofty goal to look at more of a “two per week” or “three per week” option, instead of going for the original three to five per week I’d mentioned. The readings that I tested have ate up WAY more time on my end and I’m hoping that I get better at that for future releases. What readings? Listen to the episode.

Speaking of podcasting, let’s look at the Greatest Show. I attempted to turn the show into more of a seasonal offering, not overtaxing the hosting troupe with a show per week (meaning 52 shows a year), or running like we used to with a “if anyone else can be on, we’re having a show.” I stopped updating that schedule and haven’t decided how long that page will remain up… the idea now being different with what I’m trying to do. I have wanted to have more guests on and that will allow us to move the recording times/days to whenever necessary. We will still broadcast on a Saturday night now and then, while having an episode in the middle of the week with a special guest or whatnot.

The bullet journaling and the podcasting is at the top of my active list. I just wanted to drop a note here to say that.

There is another podcast that is coming, for sure, that is tied to another project that I’ve been leaving stale for about eight months now. The project can go forward because I’m ready to fill you in about what I’m wanting to do… this deserves a banner to change gears (the first of two banners you’ll see before the end of the column).

The project’s working title (like an OS codename, so less a working title and more codename) is Stellaris. There are several components to this particular project, and I’ll detail each one a little here before moving on to the next one. But first, a little history… brief history.

I’ve written short stories in the past (if you visit the way back machine, I’m talking my school aged years around 1989 to 1994). One of the most prolific “series” I wrote was my version of Star Trek, which would be more relatable as a version of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica or a combination of the two. (Keep in mind the reimagined series didn’t air until 2003, so I’m not claiming credit for that… but I am stating that my idea was much like it.) I wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of two million words (at best guess). There were several “crews” that basically crewed a line of starships with the same name, creating a universe around their adventures. I did have a “revival” of my writing late in my Naval career (let’s say 1996 or 1997), but those never really went anywhere.

Using that as the basis, I have sort of been building up a mythology and background for new fiction. I’d also like to have a SIM fleet, like I’ve mentioned in the past like Obsidian Fleet, running in this universe. That’s a “further down the road” segment of this project, let me get back on track.

The podcast that will be born of this project is that of the history of the planet of origin for Stellaris. There are multiple species, almost 10,000 years of “recorded” history, and a wealth of background that can be translated via voice to the listeners interested in the “how the hell did we get here” portion of the fiction that I’ll be eventually writing. The podcast will be formatted much like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast, with the obvious change that I’m relating fictional events from a fictional location to the listener. I haven’t decided on how often the podcast would happen, but know that it is unlikely to be weekly.

When the history gets to a certain point, I’d start writing the fiction because you’d have enough background to know why certain characters are the way they are. The fiction would be serial fiction, with an intention to release in a novel format. The serial version of the fiction would be run as if the website was HBO and there would be a goal of 13 episodes per “season,” which means 13 installments within the book.

Speaking of serial fiction… 

I’ve talked about writing serial fiction in the past and I’ve decided to start writing it. I’ve got lots of “series” that I’d like to write and they’re all literally sitting in a file somewhere not getting done. So, I’m going to go ahead and start writing.

Will the series fit the above mentioned format? I’d like to believe so, but I’m not going to tie myself entirely down. I’m going to start writing a series based off of a short story I wrote for a college project, and I’m going to “revamp” the mythology behind that as I start writing. There will be installments, they’ll be released as they get completed, and I plan on working the mythological rework as I write.

That means NO “big write up” before writing. I’ll just keep track of things as I go.

Once I get a few installments released, I will consider doing other series. I may even try doing some background informational write ups for those before hand, but no so detailed I never get moving forward on the stories themselves.

The other big thing I wanted to move towards is… 

My goal of creating a comic book from start to finish before the end of the year is looking like that isn’t going to happen. I’m not done with the year, obviously, but I’m a realist. So, that leads me to giving a little bit of background with what I’d like to turn this into.

Yes, Specterverse.

So, when I started collecting comics in 1988 (beginning with Amazing Spider-Man #303 and branching out to many Marvel titles from there, as well as adding DC titles after that and I jumped in with both feet to Image when they launched), I had created my own superheroes and many of them, I’ll admit, were thinly skinned versions of some of my favorite heroes.

Since their initial conception, I’ve worked on my heroes to fit more of an original bent rather than be skins of other heroes. I’m basically telling you that I’ve been working on my own comic book universe for the better part of 25 years.

Yes, for real.

Since I’m unlikely to be a comic book writer, since I can’t even get seem to follow through with my goal of producing a comic book in a full calendar year, I’m going to aim to work towards JUST writing scripts. I’m intending to write them as Graphic Novels, so that there is no presence of a “monthly” release.

Using Marvel’s Cinematic Universe as a template, I’d love to write a graphic novel, or two, annually. My art is what I feel is holding my progress on this particular project back.

This is not high on the active list, but I wanted to detail it here.

I have announced in some form or another doing things that have less intense involvement on my part. These include Specter of the Galaxy, Specter of the Octagon, and Final Fantasy XV SpecterQuest where I play these games (No Man’s Sky, UFC 3, and Final Fantasy XV) and release the gameplay in installments. None of these are high priority and neither my wife have the time to play these at the moment.

So that is a rough rundown of some of the projects I have in the making. Some are nothing more than an announcement, a planning stage, etc… others are, as listed, active and noted, in the column.

There are some that weren’t mentioned at all and those are not on the active list but are under consideration. One thing I can do is talk, those things are podcasts, and that means I could just talk more… but I would need to be able to keep up with what I’m already doing, first.

Anyway… I’ll type at you next week.

Journal of the Emerald Specter 84: Revisiting Things

I put “things” because there is probably more I’m going to talk about than the one thing that I was centering the column on, so I wanted to be a little more generic. Revisiting also means that it’s something that has already been and I’m examining it from a distance of time, so buckle up… I’m revisiting the ESPL.

The ESPL, for those that don’t know (more on that shortly), is the acronym for the Emerald Specter Premier League… a logo design experiment that simulated a soccer league for a whopping two seasons (see Season One and Season Two finales). This ran from 2016 to 2017, when I decided that this was a fairly labor intensive experiment.

The whole experiment was a version of this logo forum experiment.

Now, the ESPL has only not happened one year but it feels like it’s been away forever. I have had some ideas on some updates that I’ve wanted to work up and without a place to really put them, I decided to take a look at reviving the ESPL in order to do something with my designs.

What I’d like to do is revamp the logos from the ESPL, add on to the league a little, and modify the way the league runs in order to create the output in a far less intense way. I would like to run over what the logo forum experiment did/is doing and adapt things a little to suit the ESPL, specifically. (That league is the AFA, so I can reference it easier.)

In the AFA, the creator (Veras) documents off season goings on in a summary format, including things like general news, coaching changes, hall of fame news, the draft, and then has a separate post about the season… which is also done in a general summary format. The whole season. At no point has Veras detailed the roster of an entire team, nor has he detailed an entire list of names for draft picks. Soccer (the world version, not the MLS) doesn’t use a draft, so I wouldn’t need to include that, but I am considering doing the rest of the stuff in a summary format.

The ESPL had previously detailed an entire roster, complete roster moves, and I’d even gone so far as to give some fairly detailed match summaries early on in the process, though I went with a vaguer weekly summary for the second season… with the new ESPL revival, I’d look at doing the general summaries of the transfer windows, off seasons, the seasons, as well as any “extra competitions” (like a Champions League, league cup, World Cup, etc). The results would be more of a “final league table” and would probably still include goal differences and points.

My hope is to revamp all the logos, as well renaming some of the clubs in order to “modernize” the entire league. I’m also hoping to simply pop up a “league 2” in which to do pro/rel with (for those not in the know, pro/rel is promotion/relegation). I’m also considering doing the uniform designs, like Veras has done with the AFA. All of this would be done in a different way than what I’ve done previously, and I’m modeling my own efforts after the things Veras did (the way I remember it, anyway).

The first step would be revamping the ESPL logo. The old logo was a neat little ditty that worked for the ideas I had for the original run. What I want to do is make it a little more timeless, less hokey, and have the league logo last for a long time without needing to update it (if ever). Next in line would be doing a complete club identity per season. That means the logo and uniforms (I don’t really need a field design). My idea is that the Premier League and League 2 would each have their own slate of clubs, with the PL having 16 and as yet undetermined number in League 2 (though I’m eyeballing 12 to 14 clubs as the hope, at most).

If you pretend I just announced 14 clubs for League 2, I’ve just roughly laid out a schedule of one club identity per season… lasting 30 seasons. For those who are paying close attention to my wording, I’m saying seasons and not years.

One of the biggest things I’d like to do differently is run multiple seasons per year. I’m interested in stopping the identification of the year as the season. So, Season I and Season II have been completed, meaning that Season III would start the new cycle (and eliminate the references to actual dates). The ideal situation is running four seasons per calendar year but I’ll be starting with a goal of two per calendar year until I know I can keep up.

But there is one other thing that has really spawned this conversation today and will lead into some other options…

That thing is that since I have stopped the ESPL, I’ve gotten just as many hits on the ESPL posts since I’ve closed the thing down as I had when I had things running. The highest hits on those pages are the logo reveal pages. I’ve got some comparison time frames to run against each other and I’ve really had to take a hard look at if I wanted to do this.

With that in mind, I’d like to say that if I didn’t do the uniforms part (only did logos with each summary cycle), then I’d also consider running another league (or two) from different sports…

This is the second new banner I’ve had to make for this column.

Along with the ESPL (soccer), I have been considering doing logos for what I’m calling the ESLAF (Emerald Specter League of American Football).

The ESLAF would be run like I proposed running the ESPL, and if I stick to JUST logos, I can probably do both at the same time. In this scenario, I’d probably stick with doing two seasons per calendar year for each of them… but let’s not stop there.

I don’t watch basketball actively (currently), but I’m planning on following my home team (the Portland Trailblazers) starting with the next NBA season. With that, I’d also considering doing the ESBA (Emerald Specter Basketball Association), but rather than committing to that, I’m just tossing out that idea before I get to the other thing I’m interested in doing.

Mixed Martial Arts.

Using the formula with the ESPL and the ESLAF, the ESFC (Emerald Specter Fighting Championship will be what I use unless I come up with something better) would be mainly “event posters” instead of logos. Since MMA events, using the UFC model, basically happen on a weekly/monthly cycle, the ESFC could use the same format (with an obvious build up as the league would be new).

Now, you’re probably thinking I’m getting ahead of myself. If you just took all this at face value, you would be correct in assuming I’m way in over my head with all of this. So, know that I’m not talking about launching all this immediately.

The ESPL will be the first to return, and I’m earmarking the latter half of 2018 or 2019 as that relaunch. I do, after all, have bullet journal stuff to get done as promised.

If that works well, I’d start up the ESLAF. After that, I’d consider the ESFC and future options.

I wanted to put out a column and this was an easy write. I can often vamp about things to last the entirety of a full column, so I wanted to talk about this. Hopefully I can get a little interest in the project and hopefully the folks who have been pinging those ESPL pages of old will speak up at emeraldspecter.com@gmail.com and let me know you’re in.

Journal of the Emerald Specter 73: What’s Coming in 2018?

As you read these words, it is my birthday. I decided to take a look at what is supposed to happen with me, things, and all the other stuff in 2018.

That was a terribly put together sentence.

The Emerald Specter 2018 Winter Basho is fully underway and things are flowing way better than I could have imagined. The speed at which game play is happening (required one move per day) means I could probably expand the tournaments from four to six without much of an issue. I’m sticking to four for this inaugural year.

There were lots of folks who joined and then unjoined the tournament before I decided to launch the thing a couple days early. I am the weakest player in the tournament, according to our chess.com ratings, by no less than 250 points. Knowing this, I’m probably not going to win any games… especially considering that two players have already crippled my offense to the point I may not survive to 20 moves. Two players have already scored wins (one player scoring FOUR wins), and we’re less than four days into the tournament as I write this.

How many of these folks will return to compete in the Spring Basho? That is a good question, because if no one comes back, then I’m just holding tournaments and spinning my wheels, which was not the point of this little experiment.

The point was to emulate sumo with chess.

Speaking of sumo, we’re several days into the Hatsu Basho and I am once again participating in the Sumo Game. I lost my first two matches and with any luck I’ll have rebounded by the time you read this to be competing for a kachi-koshi. I need some sort of scouting before the basho so that I can avoid always starting out with a loss.

Harumafuji, a former Yokozuna, is not participating this year because of his assault on another rikishi at the last basho. In case you don’t understand what this means, he smashed a bottle over another wrestler’s head and has been forced to retire from sumo. The Japanese do not allow their sport to be besmirched.

The action thus far has been good watching and I can’t wait to see Ura get back into the top division… because sumo is better with Ura.

I wanted to have a nifty transition like I did from before but I didn’t want to face this one.

We are in the 25th year of the UFC’s existence and I happened to catch the Stephens-Choi event on FS1 and was glad that I decided to watch the whole thing. I would normally have been leery of watching anything more than the “lady fights,” but the hype machine encouraged me to stick with it and the best fight of the night was the main event, in my opinion.

Looking at the schedule for the foreseeable future, I’m really interested in seeing the UFC 220: Miocic-Ngannu event this coming weekend. I don’t often get to witness two good heavyweights clashing and I’m really interested seeing this one live… and getting some buffalo wings to eat while I watch, which means getting to a Buffalo Wild Wings early enough to get a seat.

Other than that, I see that there are two events with more than one set of ladies battling it out, both UFC Fight Night: Jacare-Brunson 2 and UFC Fight Night: Cerrone-Medeiros have some potentially good lady fights I want to see. In that first one, I am hoping to see Tonya Evinger get whooped again, as I don’t think she’s anywhere near UFC material.

And now an aside that doesn’t get it’s own header.

I discovered a couple of spreadsheets on Sunday, January 14 that have been enthusiastic for doing something that I’ve always wanted to do… but first, a spot of history.

In 1998, I discovered e-fedding. That, for the uninitiated, is “electronic federation” or slang for wrestling on the Internet. Basically, you create a character and compete against others in a variety of ways to “pretend to be a wrestler online.” I ran a couple of federations in the past and really wanted to have a longer term future than I did.

The obstacle in that longer future was that I was getting tired of the “real thing,” which was WWE run amuck over anything resembling competition, and the same ideas being rehashed over and over. Basically, if Vince McMahon would step down and let the younger generations start running things it might freshen up the product… substantially.

Moving along, though, I wanted to have the same type of thing for boxing after my wrestling stint… and WeBL does that… sort of, but in my opinion, it doesn’t really do what I was hoping because it concentrates on the “short attention span achievements” that modern expectations have online. WeBL is more like an eFed and I was looking for something closer to emulating the real thing (like reported on by The Ring, including the alphabets WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO).

Since I started really giving my attention to the UFC, I wanted this to be more of an emulation of MMA rather than boxing… so, I made some spreadsheets of my own but got bogged down in tracking things that I just didn’t have time to program into the spreadsheets.

Well, I came across a tracker for something related to keeping track of an “in universe” EA UFC 2 simulation… and I can now use it in conjunction with what I wrote many moons ago to simulate an MMA experience!

I’m going in the direction, and really always have, of “digital fighters,” and I’ll be using single names (not a given plus surname, more like Seal or Madonna). I’m also instituting that both male and female fighters will be in the same competition, giving it a little depth.

This is sort of like the ESPL, which I cancelled after two seasons, but without downtime in the middle of the year… the digital fighting would be running more “year long” than seasonal. If this works out, I may end up resurrecting the ESPL with the new model and moving forward. I enjoyed doing the ESPL, and modifying the spreadsheet for the digital fighting would work wonders if I decided to program one again.

Smoothly transitioning into creating things, I wanted to write a 22 page comic for 2018… well, not just write, but actually fully produce.

One of my heroes, Dirk Manning, suggests when getting into something like this for the first time to go with an eight page story. The theory is that you aren’t overloading yourself with trying to do something giant but you’re getting enough room to tell a story that is interesting.

With my stated intent, I’d have to alter that (and considered doing so) into 3 eight page stories, meaning I’d end up with 24 pages total. I had one really fleshed out story I could add, then I was kind of struggling to come up with two other fleshed out stories to add to that one…

And I came back to my original intent. The story I’m going to tell is action packed, interesting, and I know exactly what happens, so I can progress in the direction I need to progress.

Thus, I’m back to producing a full 22 page comic book. I have about two pages written as I write this and I’m moving right along. 

I have not ceased working on BuJoRPG… I may be done with BuJoRPG2, though.

Work has been terrible and I haven’t really gotten back into the full swing of doing anything off work… because I’m working so much.

There has been some working out of ideas for the next bit I want to work on and I’ll get to it… but I need to have a normal work schedule again and that has failed to materialize as this has been written… and I’m really, really tired.

Podcasting is the last bit I want to address and since this is the end, I’ll address it under Final Thoughts.

I will be restarting the Specter Show (though I had never intended stopping) on my week of vacation coming up (starting tomorrow). I’ll record an episode, maybe two, and send them out into the world to get that show back up on it’s feet with all kinds of updates.

The Greatest Show will be returning next Saturday, too, as I’m trying to watch the UFC this Saturday. I’m going to be getting in touch with some guests and we’ll be explaining the future of the show when we get back up and running. As for the shows that haven’t been put out as audio, or put up on Channel 1 as edited final products, that will come when I get my week off and have time to do it.

All in all, things are starting to return to normal and I’m hoping that I can get back into everything I enjoy doing rather than doing nothing but work, work, work, work…

The ESPL Finale…

Note from the Emerald Specter, DJ Allen: this is the finale of the ESPL. Not just of season 2 but of the ESPL in general. I’ve gotten no interest from anyone to keep pushing forward and I’ve decided to focus my time in another area. I am open to the idea of someone picking up where I leave off in the future, if so you can contact me on Twitter @EmeraldSpecter, otherwise you can discuss using the designed logos I’ve made with me starting with contact. Thank you.

Also note, this will be written a little different than normal. No special graphic for the season champions.

Looking at the table, one can see we have NEW ESPL Champions. Emerald United pushed hard, even in the face of the persistent defending champions, Gothica. The third club in the deep hunt was Shazam CM, which were the recipients of the talent of Patrick Barnes, who returned in week 17 to push Shazam CM from struggling contenders to, at one point, league leaders.

How about an overview of the second season?

From where we left off, Gothica took a sizable lead in the table, being up by 9 points at one point. Then the defending champions started coming up against stiff competition in the form of the Khan Galaxy led Naval Armada, pushing hard to continue to be relevant… they also came up against Emerald United, which started showing solidity in their late season run for the championship… and the revitalized Shazam CM, who only faltered when against two clubs: Emerald United and Gothica. Naval Armada managed a draw against Shazam CM, which was enough to dishevel the club into not being able to close the gap created by the big wins of Emerald United and Gothica.

The consistency of the champions was grand, unwaveringly steady even in the face of stiff competition. Gothica thought they had things wrapped up in week 14, with their 9 point lead but then things started to fall apart, with a few losses and key draws against clubs that shouldn’t have had a shot against the champions. In the end, their strong play didn’t return soon enough to stop the climb of Emerald United.

The table as a whole saw a lot more wins than last season, too. Percentage-wise, the wins were far higher across the board and that was due to some season trades that improved clubs across the bottom. The exchanges saw each club that benefitted being far more because the trades all mattered. Citrus LF were the ones to suggest the initial trade, positing that their initial trade with Tardis benefit both clubs. The exchange did and other trades occurred.

In the end, Emerald United were crowned champions in the last week of the season, only securing their championship with a solid win and Gothica’s draw in the final week that gave Emerald United the trophy.

Thanks for reading.

ESPL Week 8: A New Number One

In a return to the old format, if just for a few posts (or maybe the long haul), we give you the awaited Week 8 recap. Let’s not wait any longer!

Starting off with the first game of the week, Queensdaisy hosted Allen FC and managed to lose 0-1. The match was a heated contest, with some pushing several times, but Allen FC’s Max Vice put a strong shot into back of the net at 26 minutes. The home side wasn’t pleased but they made several real attempts at the goal but failed to equalize the game. Queensdaisy has had a rough inaugural season with only one win, four draws, and this being their third loss. One wouldn’t expect them to be taking the league by storm, but the focus doesn’t seem to be getting them going in the right direction just yet.

Next on the schedule was Real Olympia hosting Citrus LF, winning the match 2-1 at home. Real Olympia’s Francisco Perez scored the first goal at 19 minutes and Tim Bailey dropped the second goal in at 23 minutes, just over the goalie’s head. Citrus put in their only goal right after the half, at 47′ Nicolai Borloff slid the ball right by the keeper. Citrus gave a valiant effort but falls as Real Olympia is pushing for a much better season this year than last year.

In the collision of two titans of the league, Shamrock Celtic hosted Emerald United in what was touted as being the biggest match of the week. Celtic failed to score, with the guests United scoring at only 7′ when Xin Li established they were the ones who would be dominating the day. Celtic did not get a decent chance the rest of the game, with United putting in near goals the rest of the day but failing to extend their score. There were plenty of thrills but Celtic was shown  the cracks they were certain weren’t there.

But wait, the real upset of the week happened in Shazam CM hosting Gothica, as the defending champions were taken down in a 2-1 showdown in Shazam’s home stadium. Shazam’s Taoufik Belbani scored at 18′, the only goal of the first half. Shazam scored another one at 84′ when Jackson Alexander put the home side up 2-0, with Gothica scoring their only goal at 87′ at the foot of Adam Stonewall, a ricocheting shot originally sent from team captain Simon Tarken. With the defending champions getting their first loss of the season, they were sent home knowing that winning the second season isn’t going to be a cakewalk.

“It’s one loss,” said Peter Stark, GM of Gothica. “We have an entire season to do this, one loss isn’t the end of the world. The media is making this out to be the end of the season, us losing our championship in a grand failure or pride and energy. That simply isn’t the case. This is week eight of a 30 week season and I’ll be damned if I’m going to pack the team up and call it the end.”

Sporting Black Cats hosted Halo FC to a 2-2 draw. Sporting’s goals were at 40′ with Avondale Borusa and 92′ with Kai Funaki. Halo scored at 44′ with Hogi Prince and 62′ with Andrei Ramius. The match was well balanced, with both clubs getting plenty of chances to extend the score but in the end, the injury time equalizer was enough to prevent Sporting from falling further down the table than absolutely necessary.

Tardis hosted Knightsquare and gave their home crowd a 3-1 victory, displaying vast holes in the Knightsquare defense and, frankly, embarrassing GM Otto Borden in grand fashion. Tardis scored at 40′ by David Lopez, 70′ by Luis Suarez, and 72′ by Kelvin Bradley… all of that happened after Knightsquare snuck one in at 34′ by Anthony Marconi. There was some criticism of Marconi’s post goal celebration but that immediately went away as Tardis equalized and then scored two more to show they saw the gaps in Borden’s lineup.

Vulcan FC hosted Naval Armada, expecting a fight and they were not disappointed. Vulcan lost the match 4-2, with their goals coming at 39′ and 52′ both from Kiefer Springwood. Naval scored at 4′ and 76′ by Pedro DeJesus, 44′ by Vance Alexander, and 67′ by Stephen Khan. Naval is looking to put themselves back into he thick of the title hunt and this was a big step towards that goal, especially in the week Gothica was handed it’s first loss.

The spotlight match of the week was Wordsmiths hosting Octagon, with the home club figuring this to be a place to showcase their talent. Octagon wasn’t having any of it, though, as they scored the sole goal at 38′ by Muleaki A’anhi to win 1-0. Ocatgon’s second victory gives hope to the club to avoid finishing on the bottom in this first season, a distinction they’d very much like to avoid.

Well, that was week 8’s action, hope you’ll join us next week.

ESPL Week 7: And One Shall Fall

coverespl

“I’m Martin Thomas, and I welcome you to the seventh week action of the second ESPL season! I am joined by my co-commentator, David Archer. Let’s take a look at the overview before we begin covering topics.”

s2_week_7

“David,” said Martin Thomas, ESPL commentator, “What do we need to know about all of this?”

“Martin,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator, “first and foremost, we need to know that Naval Armada and Shazam CM have struck a deal for Patrick Barnes. Barnes is out until week 17, but Shazam has a nice set up and sent Linke Rosseau to Naval Armada. While Barnes is out, John Jones will be playing as a replacement. Secondly, we should break down the general action of the week.”

“Naval Armada lost to Gothica at home, 1-0, showing a weakness in their very first outing without Barnes.”

“Martin, I don’t think Barnes is a benefit to Naval right now. He got himself banned, he’s loud, he’s a solo player on a team, and while Rosseau isn’t a long term solution, at least they can get through the season with a team player.”

“The undefeated clubs left in week 7,” said Martin Thomas, “Are Gothica, Shazam CM, and Emerald United. Gothica is on top and looking to repeat as champions in season two.”

“There was a lot of action but the highlight of the week was Shazam CM putting an exclamation point on things with their 7-1 win over Tardis. If they can keep this up, they’ll be superb when Barnes hits the pitch with them.”

“Nothing really stands out for me with this week, as we had three draws and generally low scoring matches.”

“There’s always next week, but at least the action was live.”

“I’d like to take a moment to comment on the league’s leading scorer, Gothica’s Simon Tarken. He has eight goals on the season and we’re only in week seven. Gothica is definitely behind their team captain,” said Martin.

“I see a lot of fierce competition for the leading scorer spot,” said David. “Arak Shemin has seven goals and has been keeping up, if not leading once in a while. I’m shocked we haven’t had more draws like we did this point last season.”

“I think things are comparable, actually. The trend is definitely for less draws this season, which only helps prop the league up.”

There will be more ESPL next week… stay tuned.

ESPL Week 6: Explosive Remarks

coveresplThe great round of action in week 6 is overshadowed… not by last week’s announcement, though that was in the minds of everyone around the ESPL, but by Patrick Barnes and his tirade after being tossed out of the match in front of all the ESPL media. There was great action on the pitch as well, as we turn things over to David Archer and Martin Thomas in the Week 6 review.

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“There were three draws this week in some knock out, drag out action,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator. “The league leaders lost one of their lead players and the world heard all about it. Martin, where do you want to start this week?”

“I want to start with the game of the week,” said Martin Thomas, ESPL commentator. “Not only is the last match on the schedule for the week the spotlight game, but it proved to be the one everyone was interested in as we entered the final match of the weekend. Shazam CM punched through for seven total goals to Tardis’s two, giving Taoufik Belbani a hat trick and the statement of the week: Shazam is here to stay.”

“They really took their place as one of the clubs to beat if anyone wants to take the championship this season,” said Archer. “Honestly, I never doubted Shazam had the opportunities, I was just surprised they hadn’t capitalized like this sooner. They really are capable of this type of performance four out of every five matches.”

“Some players were distracted by the announcements made last week,” said Thomas. “Some were distracted by the enlargement of the league for season four, but there were more heads concerned that they would be playing women next season.”

“In fairness, Martin, there haven’t been a rash of signups for the ladies at this point,” said Archer. “I mean, those players who think that they’ll be shown up by the women are the ones who probably don’t understand that if they want to be considered the best, they have to be willing to play all comers. Just because the gender may be different doesn’t mean that the league will looked down upon.”

“I know we’re both avoiding the elephant in the room, so why don’t we hit that up?”

“Martin, the story of the week is undoubtedly Patrick Barnes. The Naval Armada forward has been boisterous, vocal, and he’s not shy about touting his own capabilities. The unfortunate part of what Barnes did this week, though, really may have hurt Armada’s chances of staying in the hunt for the championship.”

“Patrick Barnes had gotten a yellow card for a questionably vicious tackle early in the match against Allen FC,” said Thomas. “Normally, when a player obtains a yellow card, especially for something as questionably damaging as his tackle, the player takes a lighter approach to the match and rarely sees themselves getting into further card trouble. Not Barnes. Just after the 35th minute, Allen FC team captain Charles Alexander went towards the goal for a shot, Barnes not only knocked him over but stepped on the opponent while he was down, really causing some concern on the pitch from both clubs. Barnes received a straight red card, though a yellow would have done the job, and the ESPL has imposed a six week ban for Barnes’s actions on the pitch. He was vocal at the media conference after the match.”

“This is a bunch of sh–,” said Patrick Barnes at the media. “I’m targeted because I’m a f–king awesome player. Chuck had no damn business flopping down like he did and if you look at the G—–mned replay, you’ll see he blatantly grabbed my foot and pulled it into his chest. This league needs to be more diligent if we want to show the f–king world we deserve to be considered among the best. The officiating squad out there is a bunch of whipped p—ies and they couldn’t hold my jock strap. There isn’t a one of those f–king jack wagons that has a hint of talent, which is why they’re tossing yellow and red cards around for a living. I’m being targeted. Targeted. This is a bunch of sh–!”

“The ESPL had initially given Barnes the six week ban for stomping on Charles Alexander,” said Archer. “They extended that to ten weeks after Barnes’s tirade towards the media.”

“We have no place for that kind of verbal assault in the ESPL,” said Thomas. “Barnes was clearly out of line. He claims Alexander grabbed his foot to ‘flop’ the injury, but we know that the incident resulted in Alexander having bruised ribs. He hasn’t been assessed for play in week seven but to have that kind of medical results from something like that, you can’t really claim you’ve been targeted.”

“Part of the reason that Celtic let Barnes go without a bidding war was exactly this type of hot headed play,” said Archer. “There could have been something of a bidding war for Barnes but Celtic put up a paltry number compared to what Armada offered. I wouldn’t be surprised if Armada starts trying to shop Barnes’s contract to see if they can recuperate some of their investment.”

“Barnes is a talented player, but in comparison to Khan Galaxy, who is considered the best player in this league as far as talent goes, he’s barely in the same conversation. Galaxy’s anguish when the card came out was really the image of the week in my opinion.”

“Khan Galaxy was asked to speak in front of the media, too, and he declined. The coaching staff of Naval Armada wanted to keep others off the microphones after Barnes went rogue like he did.”

“Six match ban to a ten match ban. Simply unbelievable.”

“We should finish up the week’s review by pointing out we had three draws this week, Gothica reclaimed sole possession of the top spot in the league, and the second place is really a four club race between Naval Armada, Shazam CM, Emerald United, and Shamrock Celtic. While Celtic is two points farther behind than the other three clubs, they’re still a contender.”

“I wonder if Armada is going to show some cracks on the pitch next week in the absence of Patrick Barnes?”

“Time will tell, Martin. For the ESPL week in review, I’m David Archer.”

“And I’m Martin Thomas. We shall see you next week.”

ESPL Week 5: News and Reviews

coveresplWe have another week of action to relay to you and we have a bombshell announcement that we’ll also be relaying from founder DJ Allen! Can you handle the suspense?

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“Only two draws this week,” said Martin Thomas, ESPL commentator, “One to open the week and the other to close the week. There is some movement on the table but the most noticeable item on the table this week is the lone club without a win or a draw: Octagon. Clubs seem to be settling into their places early in the season and I can’t think of a better way to start this off than by passing the torch to my cohost, David Archer.”

“Thank you, Martin,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator. “Naval Armada takes the control over the table by a higher goal difference. This week, though, it’s only a two club race. Armada seems to be trying to make a statement that Gothica is not going to push them around. Both clubs won but Armada had a clean sheet for their efforts at Citrus LF.”

“I was surprised that Gothica didn’t have the same type of performance at home,” said Thomas. “It seems that they would have had a stronger showing on their home pitch.”

“That was definitely not the case this week. Naval Armada takes top marks with the largest win, the highest number of goals this week, and they are only one of two clubs to win on the road this week, the other being Wordsmiths.”

“Can we talk about Wordsmiths?”

“Absolutely,” said Archer. “Wordsmiths scored all their goals in the first half, two by Calvin Casey, and they held on to beat the Shamrock Celtic powerhouse in their own stadium, marking the first stumble in the Celtic goal to remain a title contender.”

“In some situations like this, David, it’s often that the losing side did something to foul up their own chances, opening the door for their opponents to capitalize on the mistake. Celtic didn’t make any such mistake, they just couldn’t put the football in the goal.”

“Arak Shemin and Ron Terrell were the two goal scorers for Celtic and you are correct, Martin, Celtic just couldn’t get an equalizer or a winning goal into the net. Plenty of yellow cards for both sides, too, but Celtic just didn’t seem to be playing championship football.”

“Any early predictions on the championship this year?” asked Thomas.

“I’m going out on a limb and saying Gothica is going to repeat this year.”

“They are the safe bet, really. I believe that Naval Armada has a chance but Emerald United seems to be the sleeping giant waiting for those two clubs to flub just enough to watch them walk through to take the cup at the end.”

“Emerald United, then?”

“I will actually stick with Naval Armada. Things will change as we move into the season, as usual.”

“Now, we move to a special announcement from the founder and owner of the ESPL, DJ Allen,” said Archer. “We will have some commentary after the announcement.”

“Good evening, ESPL fans and media,” said DJ Allen. “I am here to make an announcement, two actually, about the future of the ESPL. We are a successful league, we show a lot of promise, and the potential for what the ESPL can be and do has no limit. I’m pleased to be presenting these two items to you at this time, showing the league will be growing for the future.

“The first phase of this announcement is by far the biggest one I can deliver. There has been much speculation as to what kinds of limits the ESPL will be placing on players allowed to play in the league. Early this year, there was a petition to allow women to play in the league, not in their own league, but along side their male counterparts. Starting with season three, women will be allowed to be signed by any club that wishes to sign them. At this time I’m making this announcement, there have only been three women who have expressed their interest in playing in the ESPL and as soon as this season ends, they’ll be free to be signed in the off season. The ESPL is the first league in the world to open the doors to this type of collaborative play between the sexes. We, the ESPL, are expecting there to be many, many more women who will be interested in playing in the league.

“That leads into my second announcement. We expanded the league from twelve clubs to sixteen clubs for season two. This is already showing to be a popular move, with even the new clubs drawing larger crowds than expected in stadium. We believe that the time for another expansion is at hand. Rather than expanding two or four clubs, making the ESPL eighteen to twenty member clubs strong, we are creating the largest expansion of any league in any nation at one time because we believe that the ESPL is missing something.

“Starting in 2019, the ESPL will be introducing a ‘tier 2’ to the ESPL pyramid, the first such expansion in the league’s history. The league will be known as League 2, awaiting a promotional sponsor for expanding the identity, and League 2 will introduce twelve new clubs into the fray. The ESPL and League 2 clubs will compete for the talent that is already present in the league, plus any new players coming in between now and then. Following the 2019 season, the bottom three clubs of the ESPL will be relegated into League 2 and the top club of League 2 will win automatic promotion into the ESPL. To fill the other two ESPL slots, the next four clubs, ranked second through fifth, will compete in a mini-playoff to determine the two clubs to be promoted into the ESPL.

“Finishing up, any future expansion of new cubs of the ESPL and League 2 will happen at the League 2 level, allowing the possibility of future league expansions to accommodate clubs into the future. The playoff promotion system will be tweaked as necessary and if we decide the ESPL needs to be eighteen clubs, a bigger promotion opportunity would be granted for that specific year.

“I want to thank you all for enjoying the ESPL and I hope that you’ll all enjoy the League 2 just as much.”

“What a bombshell, David,” said Martin Thomas. “Two bombshells, really. Women and men playing without barriers and an entirely new league coming to the pyramid system in 2019.”

“Some would state that we don’t have a pyramid system at this point,” said David Archer. “But with the inclusion of League 2, we add a tier to the potential pyramid that the system could eventually bloom into. Will creating League 2 give more potential club owners an opportunity to try to get a club and have the system expand to a League 3, League 4, or maybe even a multiple league tier feeding into League 2. The opportunity here is enormous.”

“Absolutely, David. unfortunately, we are running out of time and we will be back next week with more ESPL action.”

ESPL Week 4: The Race Tightens

coveresplAfter the highest scoring week we’ve ever seen, things start to tighten up as the braggadocios clubs were somewhat quieted and the top of the table gets much more of a race early in this season. We’re only in week 4 and the defending champion Gothica is sitting high atop of the table. If they’re this consistent and this hard to keep from the top of the table at week 4, how hard will they be to keep out of the championship race as the season continues? Let’s see what happened and get to the action!

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“The most important part of any season is getting a good start,” said Martin Thomas, ESPL commentator. “If you get an early start, if you run into trouble later in the season, you can always recover. If you start off in a bad place, you’re chasing the whole season and very few clubs can ‘chase’ all the way to a championship. Historically speaking, I’d say that if you look at the table ‘as is’ in week 4, the clubs from Allen FC and down have no chance at being the ESPL champions this year.”

“We are really too early to call anyone winning at this point,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator. “I think that the field is still wide open but I have to agree with my colleague, historically speaking no one from Allen FC down is going to bring home the trophy. I look at the goal difference, which is why Gothica is currently on top, and if you have a negative number this early in the season, you’re not likely to be in the chase for the championship at the end.”

Wth every goal scorer of this week, we see that goals did not come easily. While some goals came early in matches, the goals were not easy to obtain and goalkeepers almost touched every single attempt, nearly derailing them. All the scorers for the week are James McDaniel (2 goals, Allen FC), Charles Alexander (1 goal, Allen FC), Jonathan Lucke (1 goal, Halo FC), Evander McDaniel (1 goal, Halo FC), Hogi Prince (1 goal, Halo FC), Scott Stennon (1 goal, Halo FC), Juan Hernandez (1 goal, Citrus LF), Edge Right (1 goal, Emerald United), Khan Galaxy (1 goal, Naval Armada), Norman Tavez (1 goal, Gothica), Simon Tarken (1 goal, Gothica), Guillermo Martinez (1 goal, Gothica), Bart Hathaway (1 goal, Queensdaisy), David Jansen (1 goal, Sporting Black Cats), Francisco Perez (1 goal, Real Olympia), David Lopez (1 goal, Tardis), Fuji Takei (1 goal, Tardis), Hadji Khan (1 goal, Shamrock Celtic), Shamus O’Mara (1 goal, Shamrock Celtic), Calvin Casey (1 goal, Wordsmiths), Carlos Marcos (1 goal, Shazam CM), Linke Rousseau (1 goal, Shazam CM), and Jared Son (1 goal, Shazam CM).

“We can talk about who scored, when they scored, and what the match looked like throughout,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator. “In the end, though, we’re looking at the same thing week after week, so we were asked to switch things up once in a while. Welcome to week 4.”

“The big winners of the week are obviously at the top of the table, Gothica,” said Martin Thomas. “They are really only the top club due to goal difference, but that is still enough to put them in the top. If the season ended today, they’d be the two time ESPL champions. The big losers of the week are Octagon, who have yet to do anything this season but lose.”

“Octagon have a leak that they need to fix because if they don’t, this isn’t going to be a good place for anyone playing or coaching there,” said Archer.

“The championship race last season was really about Gothica, Emerald United, Naval Armada, Shamrock Celtic, and Shazam CM reaching trying to one up each other,” said Thomas. “This season? Well, we’re quickly seeing a lot of the same clubs fighting for the top spot, but Halo is making a play for being in that mix, though I don’t think that we’ll see all five of last year’s clubs in the top five spots this year. Gothica, Emerald United, and Naval Armada are really the clubs to watch for the championship this year. Shazam CM and Shamrock Celtic have a lot to prove but I believe their efforts are going to fall short.”

“I think that Celtic doesn’t want to admit it, but losing Patrick Barnes makes Armada that much better and they really need someone to take his place,” said Archer.

“What about the new clubs, David?” asked Thomas.

“Well,” said Archer, “Tardis is sitting in seventh on the table right now and the other three new clubs are occupying three of the bottom four spots in the league. If we look at what they’re doing differently, Tardis really isn’t worrying about being scored on when they’re on the pitch, they’re looking to do their own thing and push forward. There are big names on each of the new clubs but only Tardis has seemed to figure out how to coalesce while the other three are metaphorically running into each other on the pitch.”

“This is turning out to be an exciting looking season and we’ll be more than happy to get back to our regular format, as well as trying other new formats in the future,” said Thomas. “Until next week, we’ll see you here on Emerald Specter.com.”

ESPL Week 3: Scoring Extravaganza

coveresplIf you doubted that the ESPL is entering an era of unlimited potential, then you need to check out what just happened this past weekend. There was so much scoring, some wondered if this was American football. Let’s get to the action!

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The first thing that needs to be addressed is that last week, we erroneously posted a table with the header “Week 1” instead of “Week 2.” That was simply an oversight, we received plenty of feedback, and we have corrected the issue for Week 3.

The first match of the weekend was Gothica hosting Allen FC, and the reigning champions let everyone know immediately that they were looking to repeat as league champions by scoring six goals compared to only allowing Allen to score three. The visitors scorers were Patrick Tarken (13′), Shawn Rock (17′), and James McDaniel (77′). Gothica scored early and they scored often, including goals from Donovan Right (3′, 52′, & 56′), Simon Tarken (28′, 53′, & 54′), and Vaughn Terrell (85′). With two hat tricks, Gothica thought they would be the spotlight of the week, opening strong and finishing their opponents with definitive strikes.

“We weren’t messing around,” said Gothica team captain Simon Tarken. “Donovan and I both got hat tricks, we would have tried to get Vaughn one, too, but the clock just ran out of time. We are keeping this championship here and we are going to make sure that the road to being champions of the ESPL runs through Gothica.”

Then we saw the second match of the week.

Emerald United hosted Citrus LF and outscored the previous match by winning 8-3! Citrus scorers were Jean-Louis Pepon (26′), Nicolai Borloff (44′), and Kovali Anand (72′). The hosts kept up and really crushed Citrus towards the end of the match with goals from Dae Ho Park (4′ & 33′), Dzung Tran (8′ & 86′), Bill Lubiel (38′ & 42′), Edge Right (84′), and Trent Areonak (89′).

“We called the Citrus LF home office and asked if their club was going to show up for the match today,” said Trent Areonak, team captain of Emerald United. The media laughed. “In all honesty, though, they played well but our scoring really took their minds out of the game. We saw what Gothica did and decided we wanted to outdo them, so we did.”

Octagon hosted Halo FC in the third match of the week, with only Ghudra Nmamba (33′) scoring in this one. The home crowd was hostile towards the guests but that didn’t bother Halo as they worked towards their 1-0 final score.

One upsmanship didn’t stop with Emerald United, as Naval Armada hosted their 7-3 victory over Knightsquare set the high mark for the week at seven goals. Knightsquare scored via Freidrich Gunther (4′), Pedro Cruz (42′), and Claude Deveraux (46′) was their showing and wasn’t enough against the home side. Naval Armada had goals from Patrick Barnes (8′ & 91′), Yuri Petrikoff (40′), Alan Marquardt (54′), Matt Craven (66′), and Khan Galaxy (67′ & 87′).

“This squad is a championship squad and we are showing that every week,” said Horatio Antonelli, manager of Naval Armada. “We are undefeated, we have four of the best players in the league leading the way, and we are on top of the table at week 3. I think that we have a good chance to bring the championship to where it should have been last year, which is here at Armada.”

Did you think that was the best showing by a home side this week? You’d be wrong.

Shamrock Celtic, Patrick Barnes’s former club, outdid everyone this week by putting up a final score of 10-4 against newcomers Queensdaisy. The away side scored via Bart Hathaway (84′) and a hat trick from all star Shawn Alexander (29′, 41′, & 86′), who chose to come to a brand new club to be the anchor. Shamrock Celtic put in goals by Ron Terrell (2′), Marco Kaspazov (9′), Eric Stennon (40′), Keb Mogodai (47′), Arak Shemin (57′, 62′, 71′, 79′, & 91’… five goals from one player in one half), and Hadji Khan (74′). Team captain Arak Shemin scored five times in a single half, one shy of a double hat trick.

“Queensdaisy really put a focus on Shemin and Khan early in the match,” said Shamrock Celtic manager Ephraim Colton. “That opened up scoring opportunities for Terrell, Kaspazov, Stennon, and Mogodai that probably wouldn’t have been there. Arak was livid, though, and he wanted to drive home that he was not going to be denied and he almost scored a double hat trick on his own and dominated the second half of the match. Hadji mentioned that he was sorry to have stolen that one goal from Arak, who could have also put it in, but Arak said that no one should avoid the shot if they can take it. This is a team determined to show we were more than just one player who speaks loudly.”

Shazam CM hosted Real Olympia and ESPL fans were expected Shazam to up the stakes again with the scoring but were treated to more of a tactical battle as the clubs finished in a 2-2 draw. Real Olympia had scored via Francisco Perez (41′) and Louis Calipso (51′), while the home side scored via Taoufik Belbani (8′) and Carlos Marcos (28′).

“This was really a tough fought game,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator. “Shazam was expecting to be big talkers like the other clubs making waves this week but they came out and were really quiet in comparison. I don’t think this club can take the championship this year but they’ll not be rolled over, to be sure.”

Vulcan FC hosted Sporting Black Cats in another tactical masterpiece, with the hosts scoring the only goal (Jesse Davis at 12′).

“It’s nice to score the winning goal,” said Jesse Davis. “It’s unfortunate that I only had one goal, as it seems that scoring 3 to 8 times was the trend this week. Still, we got the win.”

The final match of the week was between Wordsmiths who hosted Tardis in the spotlight game of the week. The away side showed some weaknesses that Wordsmiths were all too happy to capitalize on. The home side were the only scorers as Wordsmiths scored via Russell Mantrell (12′), James Traceur (14′), Calvin Casey (22′), and Travis Trevors (32′ & 33′).

“There was a lot of talk about Tardis being the shining moment for expansion clubs,” said Jason White, team captain of Wordsmiths. “We shut them out, shut them down, and Travis even shored twice in two minutes. There is something to be said for established clubs.”

“I couldn’t have asked for more action than this,” said DJ Allen, owner and founder of the ESPL. “There was a lot of scoring, a lot of talk, and I’m interested in seeing where the league heads from here.”

Only time will tell.