Influences of Once: Part IV: Distractions

Distractions are key to keeping our minds off an unfortunate truth. What is this truth? It comes in many different shapes and forms, such as world events, lawmaking, changes in public policy, and global threats abroad. Have you ever wondered why we care so much about our sports (myself included) but the reality is how little sports matter in this big picture of our fallen world? I have thought about this continually over the past seven years. I’m a big believer in conspiracy, especially that of a new world order and a global elitist group controlling “world leaders” in every move that is made.

Before I really dive into distractions, I want to talk about a few key issues in the world that I’ve implemented into Once that I really want to jump out at the reader as they read the work. I’ve used the sport of shotball among other sports as a distraction to intentionally put the reader in another mind-set as I discuss the evils of the work’s antagonists.

Now, some of you may disagree with me on some of these issues entirely because I will forewarn you that I’m an extreme libertarian to the point that I consider statism of any kind an evil act. In America and in the world abroad, we see the following:

  1. A public schooling curriculum developed by the state. I know many of you will disagree on this, but I’m actually against mandatory public schooling, as I see it as indoctrination. Only one side of history and one side of science is taught. If any of you are familiar with George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, you’ll know where I’m going with this. I’m not saying all history was re-written, but I question its accuracy, as it’s going to be told from a very biased point of view. As for science, if you’re a big believer in young-earth creationism and have reason to believe in a flat earth (not saying I believe this but I concede I am giving the idea a fair chance), schools only teach one side of the equation, which is evolutionary science. Students are expected to retain this kind of information with standardized testing.
  2. Back to the kids, if a kid is daydreaming too much they’re put onto a pill or medication to help them concentrate more in school, and if the parent fails to carry out the prescribed medication by that child’s physician, it’s considered child abuse. I’m sorry, but unless the parent is truly incapable of taking care of their child, the decision rests in them on whether or not they wish to drug their kid up. In fact, this is such a recent policy for the most part, we have no idea what kind of side-effects these drugs will have on our children in the future. Too much of anything is a bad idea, and this is exactly what makes people dependent on medications, which will continue into adult-hood. If you teach these kids at a young age a pill is a quick fix, they’re going to forever be dependent on them, which makes money for doctors and pharmaceuticals.
  3. The NSA continually spies on Americans in many different ways. They can have access to your phone records, email, websites you’ve visited, place of work, and if they have reason to, they can track you daily. The NSA is very comparable to the Death Eaters in Harry Potter, because this is exactly what they did to Arthur Weasley and others who were in the Order of the Phoenix. Act out of line, even in words, you’re going to be tracked.
  4. When Obamacare was passed, Congress was exempt. That’s right, they literally made a healthcare policy you were required to follow or else pay a fine when you received your tax returns. If the government can require this, as with any insurance, which is by far one of the most unconstitutional things out there, what can’t they require? Oh, and there’s the double-standard that Congress obviously believed they were either above the law as they exempted themselves from this bill.
  5. Former President Obama, the so-called worker’s champion, urged Congress to better compensate past presidents. You do know, of course, this comes straight out of your own tax dollars. Looks like Obama had a double-standard too, but we’ll begin with universal healthcare he and his henchmen were exempt from.
  6. We still have members of our military based in one-hundred and ninety different countries. Did you know that America called this imperialism when the French and British did this? Now that America does this very same thing, they say it’s for security. I call it hypocrisy.
  7. We’re still fighting endless wars such as the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. Did you know that once upon a time our relations with countries in the Middle East such as Iran were actually on good terms before we decided to place military bases all over the region supposedly for stability? Yeah, Iran was once a major ally of the U.S. and Britain until 1953 when they decided to overthrow the Iranian government. Do they even mention the 1953 coup in Iran in schools anymore, or was that written out of the text book?


Shotball is comparable to American Football in Once in terms of popularity. Since Summit University, one of the primary settings for Once, is isolated from the other eighty-seven colleges and universities in the region, it is the only university to contain its own league and not be part of the Colonial Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) like the other colleges and universities in the Columbian Colonies.

At Summit University, there are twelve teams, six in the South Division and six in the North Division. Those in the South Division make up the six Southern Apartment Complexes, hailing from South Columbia. They are Matthews, Wilson, Oiler, Caldrone, Wallace, and Robinson. The names six Complexes here represent the names of historical figures in the series, and are also family names of my own lineage, with the exception of Robinson. This is due to the surname of my main character sharing the actual last name of that lineage, yet Robinson is a very similar sounding name, so it received the nod. The students are randomly selected to live in any of the six Apartment Complexes on the Summit University Campus.

The North Division differs since there are only five Complexes in favor of six, but this is due to one shotball team being made entirely of commuting students. The students who live in these Complexes actually hail from certain major cities around North Columbia, or the same regional area as these cities. They are Hallsburg, Forest City, River City, Northcoast, Richfield (on campus team), and Richfield (off campus team).

In all, twelve teams make up what is known as the Summit Shotball League (SSL), a league that has been around since the school’s founding, even when Summit played in the CCAA. During that time, the SSL acted as a minor league, although CCAA players were known to play in the SSL on a part-time basis if they wished.

I wanted something to feel like College Game Day, so I implemented this sport I came up with back in 2009 after watching NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell further kill the NFL. Yet, I envisioned something I could see someone like John Madden doing a television broadcast of, or Jim Donovan (Browns radio announcer), doing play-by-play with partner-in-crime, Doug Dieken. I wanted to hear Pat Summerall’s voice as I wrote the shotball pieces, actively calling the television play-by-play, and hearing John Madden’s analysis of the plays. Shotball is also a nod to the Harry Potter series, where Quidditch is the featured sport, but I wanted to relate my version of things closer to real life, where readers could vividly picture what was happening during each of the games I wrote of in this five-hundred page extended-length.

I was also very descriptive in everything, and I decided to use team colors of the old AFC Central to describe the South Columbian Division: brown and orange, black and yellow, teal and gold, purple and black, powder blue and white, and orange and black. I wanted to the reader to relate this as closely as possible to real life, so much I’m describing strategies, line-changes, action in very close detail, and the reaction of the crowd.

Shotball was definitely the fun part of my project, as it allowed me to do what I always did when I was younger: create my very own sports league on paper and turn it into real life. Would the sport turn into an actual game? Hey, if Quidditch keeps growing I’d give this sport the benefit of the doubt, but I’ll also be realistic. I don’t know if it’ll ever pick up steam from a real-life standpoint, but it sure would make a fun recreational sport.

Did you happen to watch the news last night or were you too busy watching the NBA and NHL playoffs?

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