Authors Note: Inspired by a profusion of hockey-talk on the PT Fever web-list, as well as thoughts of an appropriate sport for Tom Paris
"Look, BElanna, you will enjoy this sport! I promise" Tom was pleading. She liked it when Tom pleaded. His eyes turned a slightly different shade of blue as his cheeks flushed, just as those kissable lips would pout ever so slightly.
While not being physiologically immune (her pupils would dilate, her pulse quicken just that little bit) she had long ago learnt that when he looked at her like that it was best to turn away, pick up a PADD and start on next months Engineering roster. Tom only pleaded like that when he knew he was on thin ice.
Well this time being on ice was the whole idea.
Ice was cold.
Klingons, and even half-Klingons, do not tolerate the cold well.
Okay so he looked all right in the colours of the team ( Blue?? White??) but he was sooo bulky. Large amounts of padding. A helmet that almost shielded those eyes, but not quite.
And two things that looked like Batleths stuck to his shoes.
He looked like an ancient warrior suited up to do battle, with far too much padding for the battle to be truly exciting.He was still standing there, looking at her, still with that slight pout, with the smile lines wrinkling ever so slightly.
"You want to learn a new sport? Is that the idea?"
Tom looked uncomfortable
"Well, yeah. You always thrash me at hoverball. Ping-pong well- since you learnt the killer smash we spend more time replicating new balls than playing." He looked worried as BElanna, looking decidely unimpressed, advanced towards him "Not that its a bad thing but there are other things I prefer to spend credits on". His smile was persuasion itself.
"Velocity is too much like a training exercise. Whenever we play Parrises Squares well, now that Seven plays its just no fun."
"So what youre really saying Tom, is that you cant take getting beaten by the female members of the crew any more, so you have deliberately chosen a game where physical bulk and raw testosterone matched with eye-hand co-ordination will give you the edge."
Tom looked sheepish.
"Well, something like that, maybe, yeah "
He tottered across to her those blades coming wickedly close to her feet and tried to hug her.
"You may be right, though This outfit sure is uncomfortable."
BElanna accepted his hug and tried to find a way to kiss him around the helmet.
"Ill find something, Tom. In the mean-time, why dont we play a sport were already good at?"
Whatever else could be said about the human race, BElanna found that they had always had interesting ways of amusing themselves.
In the 20th Century so many different sports had taken on a national following.
Soccer a game where she had fallen asleep watching the F.A. Cup so much back and forth for so little gain!!!
Basketball well Tom was tall, but it reminded her of a primitive form of Hoverball, which she already had the advantage in.
She extended her search further
Cricket Five Days to play a game?!? How did people sit and watch a game for five whole days? And then half the matches ended in a draw! She quickly dismissed that even before trying to fathom the unfathomable.
Beach Volleyball hmmmmm warmth, a different action to hoverball maybe Tom would like to try that sometime.
Then a particular uniform caught her eye. A fast-moving game. A way of handling the ball different to any that she had seen before ("punching it away to pass it?" I like that idea!). It took a fair few players (nothing the holodeck couldnt help out with). And the most popular winter sport in a country Tom had expressed his appreciation for more than once.
Smiling, she replicated the red and white uniform of the 1999 Season Premieres, using one particular modification present in one Warwick Cappers Uniform of the 1980s.
Tom stood on the middle of the Melbourne Cricket Ground wondering how on Earth he let BElanna talk him into these things. She was sitting in the Grandstand with her red and white scarf cheering as she smiled and winked at him.
Yep, that was how she talked him into these things.
He was mortified to find that she had invited the Captain and most of the female crew of Voyager along to witness the match, a resurrection of a sport played only in one country south of the Equator.
He pulled the too-tight shorts out of his crotch once again. BElanna had assured him that these were the correct fit, had shown him archival footage to proove her case. But somehow Harry, Chakotay and even Ayala had escaped his fate. Tom resolved to have yet another word with her.
The rules of the game were simple enough four poles stuck out of the ground at each end of the field. The idea was to move the ball through kicking it or punch-passing it to other players to the poles. If the ball was put through the centre two poles a goal was scored earning six points. If the ball was put through the outer posts one point was scored.
The true talent was catching a kicked ball a "mark". This allowed a free kick. Three such kicks could cover the entire ground.
The referee bounced the ball into the ground the game had begun.
BElanna sat in the stands eating her meat pie and drinking a beer from a plastic cup. The Captain had stuck to the traditional hot-dog of her youth, whilst Seven of Nine had refused to ingest any material, commenting on the complete lack of nutritional value of all food served.
The men of Voyager cut a fine team. Harry had his long-sleeved jersey and had shown a particular talent for kicking the ball. Tom, however
Well, even Janeway couldnt keep her eyes off Tom.
BElanna had replicated Tom an authentic Australian rules jersey sleeveless, just long enough to go over the shorts, but not cover his behind.
The shorts she had replicated him were tight tighter than any other players on the field. But, gee, they looked good.
BElanna liked Aussie Rules.
It was a fast game, it was a good game. Tom at one stage had shown true potential by climbing up and over Chakotays shoulder to capture the ball (a spectacular mark) and had then kicked a stunning goal. Harry had received the ball with aplomb and had kept his goal square well. All in all it was one hundred and twenty minutes of good, sweaty fun.
The men of Voyager all agreed that as a game it had potential.
The women of Voyager were keen to have it continue.
And the tight shorts lasted all of three minutes in Deck 9 Section 12 before
Tom and BElannas neighbours reached yet again for their earplugs.