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absolute total madness


Princesses Celestia and Luna's popularity ratings are at an all-time low, with most Equestrian citizens deeming the pair amusing but incompetent and eager to distance themselves even further from the dissatisfied populace.

Determined to raise herself in said ponies' estimations, Celestia announces that she and Luna will participate in the Annual Amateur Hoofball League, a small-time sporting event hosted in rural Equestria. Unbeknown to her, the tournament plays host to more than teams, and one local hoodoo could ruin everything.

Note: hoofball = soccer; a post-S4 universe. Featured on Equestria Daily! (24 Nov 2020)

Glossary of Useful Terms

Roughly 30% of this story involves the playing of hoofball and uses terminology with which you may not be familiar. The following association football terms/idioms appear in the text. You may wish to refer to this list, where they are briefly defined.

Between the goalposts – (when used idiomatically) playing in the position of goalkeeper

Build-up play – the phase of play during which the team in possession attempts to create a scoring chance against an organised defence

Byline – the part of the goal line to either side of the goal

Centre-forward – an attacker who plays centrally; one who is typically expected to contribute to a team's build-up play

Final third – the third of the field in which a team's attackers are typically situated and where most if not all attempts to score occur; the attacking third

Four-four-two – a formation comprising two lines of four players in front of which two strikers play; a popular amateur formation due to its ubiquity and relative simplicity

Full-back – a defensive player on the wing; historically a player of the last line of defence playing centrally

Goal kick – a free kick taken by the defending side from within their goal area after attackers send the ball over the byline

Half-back – an obsolete midfield position; a player in front of the full-backs and behind the attackers in a two-three-two-three formation

Hold-up play – an attacker retaining possession of the ball to delay (hold up) play, allowing teammates to advance further up the field

Inside forward – historically an attacker positioned near the centre of the field

Offside trap – a manoeuvre in which players in the defending team push upfield in order to put one or more opposing players into an offside position

Penalty area – the rectangular area marked out in front of each goal, within which a foul by a defender involves the award of a penalty kick and outside which the goalkeeper is not allowed to handle the ball

Simulation – an attempt by a player to gain an unfair advantage by falling to the ground, and possibly feigning an injury, to give the impression that a foul has been committed

Striker – generally a forward or attacker; specifically an attacker at the front of a formation, who operates in and around the penalty area, anticipating scoring chances

Tackle – an act of playing, or an attempt to play, the ball when it is in the possession of an opponent

The break – a counter-attack; to break, or to hit an opponent on the break, means to launch a counter-attack

The hole – the space between defence and midfield

The sticks – the goalposts or goal frame

Touchline – the boundary line on each side of the field

Two-three-two-three – an obsolete formation of the 1930s utilising inside forwards in front of midfield to support the half-backs

Upright – a goalpost

Volley – a kick of the ball made before it touches the ground

Wall – a line of defenders forming a barrier against a free kick taken near the penalty area

Wing – either of the parts of the field close to the touchline

Winger – an attacking player on the wing

Written and co-edited by Acologic
Co-edited by Radian
Proofread by Radian and Fireman Al
Art by amalgamzaku

The story will continue in On and off the Court!

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Featured on Equestria Daily! (29 Oct 2018)
Reviewed by PresentPerfect! (15 Nov 2018)

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