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Bramble Rose

Junior Hoofball Tryouts

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Rainbow Dash floated proudly in the center of the Hoofball field, proud in her role providing for the young colts and fillies today. She was wearing her cap, and the whistle round her neck, and carrying a trusty clipboard to keep track of everything. Before her was gathered a small group of said colts and fillies, all chatting quietly with each other - or not-so-quietly in many cases. Behind her was a pile of equipment - pads and helmets, bags and a water cooler, and lots and lots of round balls. Oooo, she couldn't wait! This was so exciting!

"ALL RIGHT, everypony! Gather round and quiet down! Today is the day lots of you have been waiting for! The day you graduate from the Ponyville Area Youth Hoofball Association and move on to the Junior Leagues! For others of you, it's a return! Another chance after last year, another year of games, and future victories just waiting to be had! That's right, it's TRYOUTS!" she cried excitedly, soaring up into the air with her wings splayed. "Who's gonna be on the team? Is it you? You? Or you? Who knows? We're going to find out! We're gonna go up against lots of far-reaching teams in the Junior Hoofball League! We've got games coming up against Canterlot and Manehattan, Fet Loch and Hoofington, and even Appleloosa's putting together a team!"

She flew up and down before the group of little ponies, grinning eagerly. "And whomever comes out on top will come away with little trophies to commemorate how awesome you did! Are you all looking forward to having little trophies for your little trophy cases?! Cause for the first time, I'm going to be helping you win them! And the first step is picking the best team we can pick! Let's meet your potential team-mates! Everypony one at a time, shout out your name, and how much Hoofball you've played in the past!" And with that, she pointed at the first pony to the left. "You start!"

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This sounded fun! Bebop hadn't played football before. She'd seen a game or two in Manehattan when her dad would take her to the occasional game. Whilewatching the other ponies play it did occur to her that the game looked pretty fun. Now was her chance to actually try and play a game! Her expression soured a bit once she saw that the pony that was coaching was the rainbow maned pegasus who's reckless flying in the classroom one day had caused her to accidently toss her team's school project in the air... it wound up landing on the ground perfectly unscathed but still it was rather annoying.

In the Line-up, Bebop was the first pony to the left. This made Rainbow's request of her rather awkward for obvious reasons... so she decided to pull her usual shtick when somepony needed her to shout her name; a move she called the "blueblood maneuver" after an event during a field trip. She quickly wrote down her name on a piece of paper and a description ofher nonexistant experience on another page in her notebook and then tossed it telekinetically at Rainbow Dash. However she managed to catch the item she would see it read, "Bebop" on the first page and on the second, "I've seen a couple games with my dad, but that's it."

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Marzipan had been hanging out towards the side of the group. She was a little shy, since she had just come to Ponyville from Itaily, and didn't know anyone yet. She was nervous about trying out for team sports, but it wasn't like she had never played before. Back home, foals practically grew up with a hoofball between their hooves. This had been her cousin (and current guardian) Snickerdoodle's idea.

"Just try it, for one season. You might make some new friends while you're here. I don't want you to get lonely, moping around my house all day."

So here she was. The coach called for the gathered colts and fillies to start introducing themselves. Marzipan looked over her shoulder at Snickerdoodle, who was standing on the sidelines. The older pegasus waved her hoof, in a "go ahead" motion towards the filly. Turning back to face Rainbow Dash, she stood tall, wings flaring a little, and hollered,

"Buongiorno! I am Marzipan. I am here from Roam. I play hoofball some in the piazza around my home."

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Sunrise Beach was excited! In fact this was the most excited she had been in a long, long time! More excited than getting to live in Ponyville instead of having to travel from town to town as an itinerant with her mom; more excited than getting an autograph from the studly dreamboat Soarin’; more excited than getting her cutie mark! Wait.. Nah, getting her cutie mark was still better, after all, it helped her discover her special talent, and that was what lead the little turquoise unicorn filly to be here today!

Sunrise loved sports, especially ball sports like Hoofball, and she was good at them! Problem was she never got to play in any sort of organized league or team; the best she had was occasionally coming across some sandlot game and getting to join in, which she did whenever she could. Fortunately for the unicorn filly, not only did she finally have a more settled home situation, she was finally old enough to qualify playing in the Junior Leagues! She was much too good for those little foal pee-wee leagues anyway, and now she was going to prove it!

The little unicorn watched with a huge smile on her face as the coach, Rainbow Dash, gave a rousing speech. She had seen the blue pegasus flying around town on occasion but didn’t know her. Will she be a cool coach? Well she seemed dedicated to winning that was for sure. After the first filly Dash pointed to introduced herself, oddly enough through writing, Sunrise spoke up next with enthusiasm without even waiting for a signal, “Like, my name is Sunrise Beach! I used to play in various sandlot games, but I am like, totally awesome at it!!”

This was so going to rock! Hopefully Purple Haze will show up too; it be even better with a bestie!

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Finally, the time had come for Apple Bloom to take another step. She had always loved games and of all the games in a very gamey nation, Hoofball was her favorite. It didn't rely on pure theatrics like a lot of the games that the pegasi liked to play, nor did revolve are pure feats of strength like many of the games her own type liked to play. And it most certainly didn't seem like the sort of game that the unicorns would play, which to her seemed to be all brains and no brawn. No, hoofball was a little of everything and a lot of fun. You had to be strong, tough, smart, cunning, able to endure and willing to make the big play when it was time to do so. She had watched games as a foal and really little filly and always loved the sport and everything associated with it, so it was no doubt at all that when she grew old enough she would take a crack at it. And take a crack at it she did.

She had been a member of the Ponyville Area Youth Hoofball Association, or the Associaton as she called it, since she was old enough to sign up and she reckoned there was nary a filly or colt in town or even the region who had played as much as she had! She had played every possible position on the ground team over the course of time and found each one fun and engaging in different ways, but her home was as a defender. Striker was fun but she found that most coaches tended to leave her out on the island and that wasn't too engaging. Attacker was good, center-mare was good, all of it was good, but she loved playing defender. While everypony fawned over the strikers and those who scored the most goals, anypony who was anypony noticed that the best major hoofball teams were those with the best defenses.

And Apple Bloom made it a conscious decision to try and emulate some of them. She played rough, she played tough, and she played disciplined. She studied the rules with Applejack and knew how far to take the rules and got to know the stylings of the refs, but that didn't stop her from being one of the more penalized defenders around. More importantly though, it helped her become one of the best. She played rough, she played tough, and she endured long and well. By the third shift when her opponents were starting to get winded and beaten down by her physicality and annoyed by her ability to check them constantly, Apple Bloom was still going strong. She could shut them down and even become a scoring threat- while she was a defender and thus did not have a great many goals, she was a threat to be considered as the game went on. The majority of her goals came in third shift because simply she could outlast her opponents and treat them to a physical show without mercy.

So she was pretty darned excited to join a larger league and show what she was made of. She'd get to make not onlt her family proud, but the whole dang town! Nothing was better than going to the mat for kin and community and she was doubly excited to see Rainbow Dash so excited. She wanted to do really well and she had the confidence of previous experience to back it up. She expected a lot of challenges and heartbreak, hard training to improve and a certain cut throat attitude during signups and call-ups followed by sadness when friends left. In the end, a good team would be formed and comradrie cemented. And who knew- maybe she'd even get her cutie mark!

Rainbow Dash asked for names and experience and Apple Bloom was happy to oblige.

"Mah name's Apple Bloom and Ah've been playin' hoofball fer years!" She spat out enthusiastically, her tight uniform from last season's Association team displaying the various local sponsors of her team dramatically. Quills and Sofas, proud supporter of the Ponyville Youth Hoofball Association for ten years and counting!

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Rainbow Dash blinked as she caught the notebook floating before her, catching it on one hoof, tossing it into the air again, then cradling it in one wingtip as she used her hoof to turn the page. She read the first page and cried, "Right! This is Bebop, everypony!" She thought about it a moment. "And she can hear us, but she can't talk?" She glanced over to Bebop for confirmation. Huh. OK. "She's seen a couple games with her dad, but this is her first time playing! So she at least knows the rules!" She tossed the notepad back to Bebop, fully expecting her to catch it. Hoofball, after all. "Since you can't talk, if you need anything, can you shoot up sparks from your horn?"

She also pointed at Marzipan. "And you! Watch your language, I'm Dash, or Coach! I'm not a buck-whateveryousaid. We won't have any pizza here today, but we'll have orange slices and Canterade!"

Rainbow Dash smiled and waited politely for all the little colts and fillies to speak up, grinning proudly at the declarations of various levels of ability and history. ((I'll wait one more day to see if anyone else shows up, then I'll proceed forward with Dash. And if anypony wants to chime in on the way the game was played, the thread is here))


Purple Haze bounced next to Sunrise, eager for the tryouts to start. This was her main social outlet - the game field! The one thing her da'd let her off of chores and schoolwork and anything to go play in. Of course, she could get out of anything else, too, by just giving him big eyes and wheedling him, before racing off to the Nuthouse to hang with her friends, the Nut family, but this was the thing she didn't have to play her da in order to get away with it.

After all, there was a family tradition of being awesome hoofball players! Her da was a star player back in the day, hear him tell it, and he still had the high-school trophies to prove it! And he'd played in the local roughhousing recreational leagues for most of his life. Carrot had been pretty darn good in High School, too, though he'd never quite managed to get any of da's records broken. And here she was, ready to show a whole new herd of ponies how Fet Loch played hoofball! Highlands represent!

"Oi'm PURPLE HAZE!" she cried proudly, "Ah th' Carrot clan ah' Fet Loch! Oi've played hoofball since Oi was a wee baern! Oi'm a defense player, an' ye'll nae get a ball past me, Oi tell ye that!" OK, a bit overstated, but she was pretty good!

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Filthy Rich was clearly too big to join a junior hoofball team, and he may have been just a little too laid-back to be an effective coach. But play an important role for Rainbow Dash’s team Mr. Rich did. Who do you think paid for all the equipment behind the driven coach? That’s right; Filthy Rich donated the money for it all. Always an advocate for community programs, and getting kids out and exercising, Mr. Rich saw it the natural thing to do to lend all his support Ponyville’s youth hoofball team. To provide them with money for uniforms and essential supplies. To raise awareness of upcoming matches so the entire town. To post advertisements around the local playing field for Rich’s Barnyard Bargains and all its numerous sales.

Well okay, that last one benefited the business owner more than the team, but Mr. Rich never let a good advertising opportunity pass him. It just wasn’t in his blood to do so, how else was the stallion going to get more people buying from his store so he can continue funding community programs and events? The only regret Filthy felt from the whole Youth Hoofball thing so far was his inability to convince Diamond Tiara to tryout for the team. It would have been nice if his daughter used this opportunity for much-needed physical activity. Then again, Diamond admittedly wasn’t much of a sports pony to begin with. Maybe forcing her into something she really didn’t want to would have had bad consequences.

Mr. Rich did not plan on doing much during the tryouts other than spectate; Rainbow Dash possess sound judgement as a coach and didn’t need meddling with. Doubtless she’d pick the most qualified kids for the team, whether they had the right talent or heart to be hoofball players. Keeping off to the sidelines, Filthy planned on watching the proceedings unless the coach needed him for something.

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The rainbow maned mare in charge pointed at Marzipan. "And you! Watch your language, I'm Dash, or Coach! I'm not a buck-whateveryousaid. We won't have any pizza here today, but we'll have orange slices and Canterade!"

The Itailian filly was confused. Tilting her head to one side, she replied, "Eh? No no, not pizza. Piazza. Is a square." Was her accent really that difficult? Or was the coach having a laugh at her? She stood on her hind legs and gestured with her forehooves, drawing a square shape in the air to further illustrate her point.

As the other fillies down the line spoke up, it became clear that she wasn't the only one from out of town. Well, Coach Dash would have her hooves full trying to make heads or tails of all the different accents, and of course the one filly who didn't speak at all.

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Sunrise Beach didn’t get a reaction from the coach when she proudly introduced herself. The turquoise filly wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing, especially given Dash’s reactions thus far. Well the coach will know Sunrise’s name soon enough when she shows off her wicked elite skills with the ball! Of course the real question was what position will she get to play? In the past she played everything except those of the sky team: Goalie, offenses, defense, striker. Given everyone was a foal at the time, there was never any real magic, so everypony on the ground was interchangeable. This time was different though, this was no foal league and magic would finally play a real part, which made her wonder as one of the few unicorns here… Striker?

It was that moment Sunrise Beach heard her bestie, Purple Haze speak out. This only boosted the little unicorn’s confidence as she quickly trotted over to her green coated friend. “Like, heya Purple! I like, figured you would be here early too, sorry I couldn’t like, meet with you at your farm. Had some totally lame-o chores I had to like, finish up at the library first.”

Sunrise stood next to Purple, again surveying the other ponies, “are you excited? I’m excited! Totally excited! I’m finally going to like, some off my totally tubular ball skills in a real league! It’s going to be so awesome! With a huge grin on her muzzle, Sunrise waved to the few others that she knew, like Applebloom. The other ponies were less familiar, although she had seen Bebop around the school; the cream colored pegasai was completely new to her. She whispered to Purple, “like, who is the pegasai with the purple and red mane, like, I never seen her around town before, think like, she is new here?”

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Scootaloo could hardly stand still or hold a thought in her head as she waited on the field for the year's Junior Hoofball Tryouts to start. The filly had always been a fan of the sport ever since she was old enough to kick a ball around the grass outside her house. She remembered the day she first got to see a hoofball tournament in action. After watching the players battle it out with amazing goals, steals and saves, the filly was instantly hooked. From that point forward she read everything she could get her hooves on about the sports and sought to emulate those she saw in the tournaments. Having her friend Apple Bloom as a fan of the sport also helped a lot as it gave her somepony to practice with.

The orange Pegasus wasn't particularly strong in the power of her kicks, but what she lacked she made up in spades with her agility. She could easily maneuver the ball around others and even if she lost it could easily steal it back. Her downfall though was that unlike the other pegasus ponies she played with and against Scootaloo could barely fly. This made all those cool aerial attacks she saw and wished she could do only a dream. Even so Scootaloo loved the game and perhaps even thought that becoming a great hoofball player would grant her a cutie mark in the sport.

This year was going to be better that the previous ones as they had the awesomest coach around: Rainbow Dash. The pegasus was sure to train them hard and help them win the matches of the season. The mare's speech energized Scootaloo to begin, and the thought of those shiny new trophies on a shelf in her bedroom added to the joy. Finally it was her turn to introduce herself.

"Hey everypony. I'm Scootaloo and I've been playing hoofball for years too. I can't wait to get started!"

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"she can hear us, but she can't talk?"

At this, Bebop nodded affirmatively with a smile on her face, seemingly rather proud to admit it. Once Rainbow tossed the notepad back to her she easily caught it in her hooves. She would have to get used to catching stuff without her magic since she was aiming to be the goal keeper. As cool as the striker could be she knew that communication was very important in this game and given her situation it might come to be an issue she attempted to play that position, so goalie was the spot that she was aiming for!

"Since you can't talk, if you need anything, can you shoot up sparks from your horn?"

In response Bebop took a moment and concentrated, her horn glowing bright and soon a few bright sparks leapt from it. Once again using her telekinesis she quickly wrote down something else and held the notepad aloft at Rainbow's level so she could read it. If Dash did indeed take the time to look she would see that Bebop was expressing her desire to play the the goalie. She said that she was already pretty agile despite her size and would do her best.

While rainbow continued to speak to some of the other foals who had decided to join in on the game, Bebop saw a couple familiar faces. It seems some of her fellow blank-flanks had decided to join in, Applebloom and Scootaloo being the ones she recognized but she was sure there would be more familiar ponies coming to play this awesome game. Poking out slightly from the line she waved to the two crusaders, hoping that they wound up on the same team.

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Rainbow Dash stared back at Marzipan blankly. Her accent wasn't that bad, but she simply could not make those words come together to form a coherent sentence. But Dash didn't want to embarass the lil' filly. Dash's friend Derpy didn't always make the most sense, either, but she was still a good pony, so she made her best shot to guess. "Pizza's square where you're from? That's so weird. It's a circle around here. You'll have to visit the Pizza Barn and find out what some real pizza tastes like! But that's not important right now!"

Rainbow Dash grinned over her pack of young colts and fillies. She'd hoped for a few more older ones, but this would do. She couldn't deny the younger ones the chance to at least try out, after all! That was the one right of every pony: to try!

"All right, everypony!" she cried out over the small crowd. "Let's group up into teams of three! I want you all to warm up with a half-dozen laps around the field, and stick with your group! I know all you pegasus ponies are looking forward to being part of the sky team, but I want you to stay on the ground during these first laps. Sky team does a lot of galloping in this game!"

Dash floated over by Flithy Rich to watch the little ponies start out around the field, settling next to him with her hooves several inches above the grass. "Enthusiastic young crowd this year. Glad to see such energy! Too bad Diamond isn't here. No offense, but she could use a healthy dose of team spirit. But she's still growing. So, you willing to take a few of the groups and help them out, or are you just here to cheer them on this year?"


Purple Haze shrugged to her bestie Sunrise. "Well, she said 'er name was Marzipan! Or Beojerno. Oi'm nae sure which, but Oi think it's Marzipan. 'Ere." She waved her hoof over at the pegasus. "OYE! MARZIPAN, AYE? Get yer tail o'er here, ye kin join our team! Oi'm Purple Haze, this is Sunrise Beach, an' Oi'm totally gaen tae beat th' cutie marks offa botha ye!" With that declaration, she grinned impishly and took off down the out-of-bounds line.

Admittedly, speed wasn't her best athletic trait. But she did get a head start, and she had a farmhorse's endurance! They might pass her by in the first couple laps, but she was willing to wager she could make up the time during the last couple laps, when they were flagging!

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Coach Dash looked as confused as ever when Marzipan tried to explain her earlier statement. "Pizza's square where you're from? That's so weird. It's a circle around here." The filly facehoofed. She could try to explain that no, pizza was round in Itaily, too (well, the truly hoof tossed pizza was round-ish, anyway). But it wasn't worth the trouble. Instead she just set all four hooves on the ground again and muttered under her breath, "zuccone"

"OYE! MARZIPAN, AYE? Get yer tail o'er here, ye kin join our team! Oi'm Purple Haze, this is Sunrise Beach, an' Oi'm totally gaen tae beat th' cutie marks offa botha ye!"

The almond coated pegasus filly looked up to see the green earth filly with the Fet Loch accent standing next to a turquoise unicorn and hollering in her direction.

"Mi? Oh, um.. si, certo." She started trotting over in their direction, when the filly called Purple set off at a gallop down the side of the field. Oh, a race, was it? Well, Marzipan may be a bit small for her age, but she was plenty agile. She took off running in hot pursuit, not waiting to see if the unicorn was going to join them.

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It was good that Apple Bloom knew some ponies who were making a name for themselves, or would attempt to do so, on the same field with her. Apple Bloom knew that Scootaloo was gonna show up and would be one heck of a player. She had all the agilty one could have on her light hooves and awesome hoof-eye coordination which resulted in fantastic ball control. It didn't take a genius to figure out that her inborn skills were going to play a huge part in how this team turned out. Sunrise was a little older than the rest but was less experienced. They would probbaly work to counter-act one another but it was fun either way. Abby was happy that she was along for the ride. She always seemed like a cool filly but they simply hadn't any reason to hang out. This would be a fine excuse, wouldn't it? Purple seemed pretty confident and Apple Bloom was happy to see another pony who liked to play defense. Hopefully they'd make quite the pair and give Ponyville the best defense possible!

Marzipan had a funny way of speaking. Made sense if she was from Roam though since they tended to talk all odd-like, unlike the normal Heartland Equestrians. No problem though- she seemed spirited enough in her conversations with a somewhat silly Dashie! Bebop would be interesting. Honestly, communication in Hoofball was so important that Apple Bloom had nothing but doubt that she could be a very good player. But then again, this was as much an exercise in community as it was sport and Abby was happy to help her to become the best Bepop she could be. Apple Bloom exchanged several waves with her friends as she listened to Rainbow Dash give out the simple trotting orders for the start. Three pony group, half dozen laps around the field. Got it in the bag! Apple Bloom nodded towards Scootaloo and then waved Bepop over. This'd be their group for the day.

"Alright ponies, lets get ta tha gallopin'!" Apple Bloom yelled before she took off like somewhat constrained rocket to do the laps- she didn't want to leave Scootaloo and Bebop behind!

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"Let's group up into teams of three! I want you all to warm up with a half-dozen laps around the field, and stick with your group! I know all you pegasus ponies are looking forward to being part of the sky team, but I want you to stay on the ground during these first laps. Sky team does a lot of galloping in this game!"

"Yes mam," Scootaloo said giving a smart little salute before finding her group. It was easy to know who one of ponies in her group of three would be. Apple Bloom had been her friend for as long as she could remember, and she was an awesome hoofball player full of energy. Her life on a farm had built up her strength, translating into strong kicks and fast gallops across the field. The question was who would be the third member. There was Sunrise, a pony that she knew from school and a new pony called Marzipan that had an unusual accent. Then there was Bebop, a pony she also knew from class that strangely would communicate using her tablet. She wondered how well this would do when trying to develop strategies, but at least she could hear. She deferred the decision to her earth pony friend who chose Bebop before taking off running.

"Alright, here we go," Scootaloo said as she took off around the field, catching up to her friend while occasionally looking to see that Bebop was following closely to them.

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Sunrise Beach thought about what her bestie Purple Haze had said in regards to the cream colored pegasus, “like actually I think buuon geeorno is like good morning in Itailian, so her name must be like Marzipan.” The only reason Sunrise knew this is because her mom, Martini Paradise, had a few bar gigs in Roam and the turquoise filly was able to pick up some of the most common words while staying there over time; not that she was good at pronouncing them herself.

Of course Purple used the opportunity also to get a head start on the laps their new coach wanted them to do, “HEY! Like, that’s totally not fair! Wait for-“. Sunrise didn’t even have a chance to finish lodging her protest when Marzipan ran past her as well, “HEY!!” The unicorn filly snorted and reared up in frustration before taking off. It wasn’t fair, but if it is a race they wanted, it is a race they will get!

As she ran up behind them, keeping pace and even catching up some, she became curious about their coach, Rainbow Dash. Sunrise knew next to nothing about the light blue peagsus, other that she hung around the library a lot and was a friend of Princess Twilight. Was she a sports star also? Or maybe at one time? “Like Purple, what do you know about this new coach? Is she like awesome, or just some lame-o?” Dash had to be cool, right? She loved hoofball after all.

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"All right, everypony! Let's group up into teams of three! I want you all to warm up with a half-dozen laps around the field, and stick with your group! I know all you pegasus ponies are looking forward to being part of the sky team, but I want you to stay on the ground during these first laps. Sky team does a lot of galloping in this game!"

"Alright ponies, lets get ta tha gallopin'!"

"Alright, here we go,"

Bebop quickly tossed her notebook to one side of the stands. The little filly was a tad miffed that Rainbow failed to notice her last message, but that twinge of annoyance was soon replaced when saw that Applebloom was waving her over. This was great; she was going to be playing on her friends' team!

It didn't take long for the little brown colored filly to catch up with Applebloom and Scootaloo. There was no way she was gonna get left behind! Quickly she managed to close the gap and smiled at the two of them as they ran alongside her. Amidst the rapid pounding of her hooves against the track the little unicorn couldn't help but wonder where the third member of these two's little group was. Sweetie belle was her name right? Perhaps sports wasn't her thing? Regardless Bebop was determined to have a great time in today's game.

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Marzipan reveled in the warm-up exercise. It was so nice to play in an open field, rather than the hard cobblestones of the square back home. No tourists to dodge, or fountains and statues either. Just the grass under her hooves and the wind in her mane. The little almond pegasus closed her eyes, and absentmindedly opened her wings to feel the breeze under her feathers. She started getting a little lift, then >BAM!< She ran headlong into Purple Haze and Sunrise Beach who were galloping just ahead of her. The three fillies tumbled hoof over tail in a jumbled pile at the side of the playing field.

"Oh! Mi scusi! Mi dispiace davvero." Marzipan shook her head, and tried again. "Um, I mean to say, so sorry, very sorry. I was no watching where I go." She waved her hooves emphatically. "I try better. Is just so beautiful today, no?" She looked up at the azure sky and sighed. What she wouldn't give to be out painting by the side of the lake today. But no, Snickerdoodle had been right. She needed to make some friends her own age, and playing Hoofball was probably the best way to go about it.

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Rainbow Dash raised her voice as she saw Marzipan start to take off, leading her to darting forward to crash into the others of her trio. "HEY! No flying, Marzipan! You're supposed to be running! You better be able to follow directions if you want to be on this team!"

Dash kept up the stern look as long as they were looking at her, then when they looked away and went back to running, she chuckled softly. She couldn't really blame her. Running was so boring compared to flying. But it was also necessary for the game!


Purple Haze grinned broadly. She knew the other two were catching up with her, but she was still in front, and she wasn't going to let them pass her easily! "Ah... ha... Nay, Oi dinnae know... " she started to say in return to Sunrise's question on Dash. "how she got tae coachin'. She's jes' a giant egghead. She 'n me brae loik tae talk about Daring Do all th' time. She's all right, real nice, but ... big egghead." She panted and kept running, "Oi doubt she's much of a - "

BAM!

She found herself tumbling head over hooves through the grass, coming to a rest with her tail flopped over her face. Grrr! She got herself up to her hooves quickly, feeling horribly embarassed. "Oye! Careful there!" she helped Sunrise and Marzipan up, and said, "Oi loik tae win, too, but ye gotta play *fair!*"

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It was good to see that Scootaloo caught Apple Bloom's objective. Scootaloo was more perceptive than a lot of ponies gave her credit for. Their loss, her friend. She didn't want to leave nopony in the dust and especially not a new teammate. Didn't do much for team morale if on day one you tried to embarass somepony else to prove your own superiority, especially if you weren't some high paid pro athlete. Especially at the filly and colt level ponies could be emotional enough to make enemies and sabotage their own efforts to hurt somepony else in a self-destructive little display. Apple Bloom knew that quite well as she had been guilty of that in the past. They all had done it at some point: Apple Bloom just had no desire to do so again. She was going to be the best teammate she could be for them all and make sure everypony else was better for her involvement.

It doubly nice to see Bepop catch up in quick order, not being the least bit left in the dust by their pace. That was good, she had some good speed and stamina. They finished out a lap and then were through the another, their pace never going faster than they were. Everypony seemed to be in good enough spirits and Apple Bloom felt sufficiently limbered up. Now the real questions was whether to go faster and if so by how much? She didn't want to leave nopony dragging behind and didn't want to tire anypony out too much, but at the same time knew that it was best they go a bit faster just to get the extra workout in. You never seemed to have enough time or space once you needed it so may as well use what time you had been gifted. Of course she wouldn't go too much faster than she was now, but as ponies caught up and they finished a lap she would go a little bit faster every time. That'd certainly put the pace up!

"Good job...Bepop! Scoots, let's push it faster!" Apple Bloom bellowed confidently before her gallop pace quickened and her stride increased, increasing her speed enough to start to put distance between her and her fellows. They were going to make the best lap-running trio of all time!

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Scootaloo was always caught between two mindsets while doing anything athletic whether it was hoofball or a friendly race. She wanted to stand out amongst her peers as being a great pony, the fact that she lacked a cutie mark and could not fly well only strengthening this desire. Yet in the world of her fellow fillies and colts trying to be the best, sometimes at the expense of each other's feelings or friendships, the orange Pegasus didn't want to be seen as boastful either. Luckily with a friend like Apple Bloom who equally wanted to test her athletic mettle while remaining humble, Scootaloo wasn't afraid to cause any fracturing between them.

The filly was glad to see Bebop being able to catch up with the pair. Knowing little about her and the fact that she couldn't communicate without her notepad made Scootaloo unsure how she would be as a athlete. But to her pleasant surprise Bebop was able to easily catch up with the pair.

"Alright," Scootaloo said hearing Apple Bloom willing to take things up a level, "Let's go!"

She accelerated, her light frame helping in allowing her to keep up.

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Sunrise Beach kept pace with her bestie, Purple Haze as she listened to the earth pony give her opinion about the coach. Sunrise was simply dumbfounded by what she heard though; an egghead?! The only true egghead Sunrise knew was Princess Twilight, and the lavender alicorn was anything but athletic, and worse still, despite all her bookish knowledge, or maybe because of it, had no real understanding or interest in sports! "Like, but why would an egghead be like, our coach?! You don't think she like, got in trouble and this is like, community service or something bogus like that, do ya?" Hopefully not, but could eggheads actually like hoofball at all?

"Like, she seriously into Daring Do too? Isn't that like, books for foals and junk?" Well, they were decent stories, and Sunrise liked it when they were read to her when she was younger, but it was always the turquoise unicorn's impression that older fillies and colts weren't supposed to read those kind of silly fantasy stories anymore, not if they want to be seen as cool by their peers!

BAM!

Before Sunrise could contemplate further about her coach, she found herself at the top of a pile that was made up of herself, Purple, and Marzipan. "Wait..wut?!" Sunrise shook her head as she stood back up on all fours, and tried desperately to remember what those Italia words meant that the pegasus filly spoke at first until Marzipan repeated them in standard Equestrian. Sunrise shrugged, "umm, yeah, like, it's alright, it was an accident and junk." The next words from the beige peagsus confused the turquoise filly, as she tilted her head, not understanding why Marizpan would suddenly comment on the weather out of the blue like that, was she all there? "Uhh.. I guess? Like are you alright? You like didn't get uhhh..." What did Twilight call it when one hurt one's head? "Uhh.. a concourse? Concuss? Oh right, connnnn..cussion! Yeah, concussion! You like, don't have one of those, do ya?"

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"Good job...Bepop! Scoots, let's push it faster!"

"Alright, Let's go!"

There was no way that Bebop was going to let herself get left in the dust! The eager little filly's hooves pounded away at the path as she galloped alongside her friends. While Bebop was a music lover at heart, she was always made sure to keep herself in shape. She couldn't play those woodwind and brasswind instruments if she let herself get winded easily now could she?

Even with Appleblooms sudden burst of speed, Bebop was still keeping up! If there was anything this filly had (besides a super cute red bow) it was heart. One could almost write a song about how much heart she had and how strong it was... Maybe with a comparison to something similar to a pony, but larger. Sadly nothing came to mind right and besides she had laps to concentrate on! As the trio rounded the next lap, Bebop took notice a small dogpile of fillies! What the hay were they doing laying around on the field during tryouts! The only thing bebop could do to warn her friends if she was distracted was Rainbows idea. Without breaking a cadence in her gait she lowered her head slightly and her horn began to glow a bright orange before shooting a few harmless sparks in the direction of the pony composed obstruction.

Just as the trio was nearing the small pile up, Bebop took a deep breath and made a big leap over Marzipan, Sunrise beach, and purple. For a moment she looked like she was going to keep going... but she thought maybe she should try and bring this matter to the attention of the coach... or at least help some of these unfortunate ponies back to their hooves; She had to be a fair sport and a team player after but most importantly a good pony.

Backpedaling a bit to the cluster of foals on the track the first pony she offered her hoof to was a filly with a turquoise coat and a light goldenrod mane. With a little effort she used her telekinetic magic to extricate Sunrise from the pile. Upon getting the filly to her hooves she gave her a look that showed a clear hint of worry and wondered if she and her team were okay.

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Apple Bloom had to admit, she was impressed. She hadn't really expected Bepop to keep up. A portion of her half-expected the fun times to come to an end as they were forced to slow down for her. Abby wouldn't have held it against her or nothin' as she couldn't be anything other than who she was and how she was, but it would have been the royal pain to not be able to strut her stuff a bit. She wanted to make sure her teammates were placed in a good light as that was part of being part of a team, but it'd be a stone-cold lie if she claimed that she didn't want Rainbow to think that Abby was the best player on the field. She wanted Rainbow to think she was the best player and Scootaloo the best pony to put on offense. Bepop? Who knew. But she wanted all of them to gel and be perfect. So it was a nice surprise to see Bepop keep up with them. It was nicer when she started to think that maybe she could start turning it up even more and get these farm legs stretched out some and ready to kick some serious flank!

"Haha, that's tha ticket! Let's kick it up a notch-" Apple Bloom began taking a big stride as she looked back at Scootaloo when out of the corner of her eye she saw a spark. A few sparks. Her head snapped around and she saw beside her Bepop's horn making quite the little show aimed at a three pony pileup! What the hay had happened with'm? Either they were practicing some sort of new move that Apple Bloom believed she needed an adult to explain to her or they had crashed into one another. Well, that was mighty silly of 'em. You had to keep your wits about you in lap running as much as you did in a tight game of hoofball! Didn't want to run into your own team and break the defense and allow the other team to get a goal just because you were eying up somepony or scratching your belly. Speaking of keeping your wits about you- Apple Bloom was approaching the pileup!

She skidded to a stop with the sound of rubber on asphalt, a mighty cover of dirt cascading in front of her and onto the crashed ponies as small mounds piled up in front of her heavy hooves. She came to a stop just behind the group, her worried expression hidden only slightly by the pale dust cloud.

"Y'all okay?" She asked nopony in particular as well as everypony who mattered as she went about helping them up.

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As the trio rounded the corner, Scootaloo's eyes went wide seeing a pile of ponies right on the track! She didn't have time to think about how the three fillies got this way, only she was traveling at a high enough speed that could do some serious damage to herself and the others if she didn't think fast. In that instance Bebop suddenly rocketed over the pile while Apple Bloom skidded to a stop. Scootaloo tried to stop as well but her back hooves got caught up into each other, causing the filly to trip and begin rolling like an orange and pink ball!

"Lookout!" was the only think she could say as she collided with the pile like a bowling ball striking pins. In fact Scootaloo could have sworn she heard that distinct sound she heard often at the bowling alley in town.

"Ugh! Can anypony tell me the number of that wall that hit me?"

He then looked to see Apple Bloom, only it wasn't just one apple Bloom she was seeing but three.

"Oh hey Apple Bloom... um which one is you?"

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