The Gaduri Miracle refers to the upset win of the men's superpolo team from Gaduridos over the heavily favoured Baltusian team in the gold medal match of the Baltusian-hosted Olympics in 2115. The win, and in fact the entire tournament captured the imagination of the Gaduri public like few events before or since. Usually, the term refers only to the win in the gold medal match, but it can also refer to the undefeated performance of the Gaduri men during the whole Olympic tournament.
The Gold Medal MatchEdit
Going into the game, Gaduridos was a surprise finalist. Just making the quarterfinals had sent the nation's fans into delirium. Baltusia, on the other hand, was the host nation, and superpolo is the national sport there. Odds makers had Baltusia as a 100 to 1 favourite going into the final. But in the end, Gaduridos pulled out an astonishing 10 to 6 victory, leading 4 to 2 in the pool and 6 to 4 on the field.
How did the Gaduri team do it? Admittedly, they are weaker on paper. Baltusia's professional superpolo league is the class of the world, and although a few Gaduris play in the Baltusian league (Gaduridos and Baltusia border each other), most of the team played in the much less prestigious Gaduri Superpolo Association, or with university teams in Gaduridos. Some claim that it was simply a case of the Baltusians taking their opposition lightly, and this may have played a part. However, most analysts credit the Gaduri coach, Lionel Honeycutt, and his patented "Dump and Bump" system, for which none of the teams in the tournament had an answer.
What is the Dump and Bump?Edit
The Dump and Bump is a strategy designed for teams with physically strong players, but few natural scorers. It was a perfect system for the oversized Gaduri team to use against the extremely talented Baltusian squad. Simply put, the system focuses on keeping scores low and wearing out the opposition through hard hitting. It tends to be more effective during the second half, on the field, than in the pool. The basic idea is that most of the time, instead of trying to score, the team simply "dumps" the ball into the opposing end, and then "bumps" them, hitting the players at every opportunity and attempting to force errors deep in the opposition's defensive zone.
Many purists deride the strategy, saying it makes the game boring by preventing skilled scorers from having the space to make plays. There is certainly some merit to this assertion, but one can hardly blame the Gaduris from using the strategy, as they would have no chance to keep up with a team the calibre of Baltusia in a "run and gun", high scoring style of game. Certainly, few coaches had an effective counter for the Dump and Bump at the 2115 games. In the first two qualifying games, Gaduridos did not allow any goals on the field. They were also the only team to hold Baltusia to single digits in goals.
Reaction to The MiracleEdit
An estimated 13.7 million Gaduri households tuned into the Gold Medal match, making it the highest rated television broadcast in the history of Gaduridos. After the victory, spontaneous celebrations were held in all major Gaduri cities, with people mingling peacefully and singing the national anthem.
There are currently plans for a major motion picture to be released in the Fall of 2116, tentatively titled "Believe!", chronicling the gold medal win. A-list actor Brick Strongwell is signed on to play the part of leading Gaduri scorer Joe Swanson, while career character actor Edward Munson is to be cast as Coach Honeycutt. Maria Moldova, three years in a row voted "Gaduridos' Sexiest Actress", will play a love interest to Swanson.
On a more local level, tens of thousands of children signed up for Superpolo for the first time. The local playing scene also benefited, as the International Superpolo Federation reported that pre-orders of 2116 season tickets were up some 50%, and there were plans for the Gaduri subfederation to be eligible to promote a team into the main Baltusian league system, although these have failed to materialise.
- Qualifying Match - Gaduridos 16 - Rutania 14
- Qualifying Match - Gaduridos 13 - Hobrazia 10
- Quarterfinal - Gaduridos 20 - Dundorf 15
- Semifinal - Gaduridos 19 - Egelion 14
- Finals - Gaduridos 10 - Baltusia 6