We met team three walking out as we were heading to the inner courtyard.
“I really thought we would be going against you guys in the finals,” I said to Hiroshi.
“Same here, I thought we would win,” Hiroshi said regretfully. “If only this hadn’t happened…” He held out the horseshoe-shaped pusher. A large part of the bottom had been torn off.
“How did that happen?”
“One of the defenders smashed into it on accident,” Hiroshi said, running his finger over the broken edges. “The ball started rolling the wrong way and it took us over a minute to get it back on track.”
“In the end, team two won with a minute and thirty six seconds against a minute forty one seconds. That was just so cruel, don’t you think?” The most arrogant girl in the class, Misuzu, put her hand on Hiroshi’s shoulder and sighed.
“It’s their fault they hit you.”
“Well it was an accident, so what can you do about it,” Hiroshi said unconvincingly. “Be careful,” he said as he left. “Who knows what will happen in the finals.”
Hearing something like that before a match felt like some sort of omen. We started paying extra attention to everything around us. And when we saw team two’s attacker, we were taken aback.
“Is it riding on a wheel?” Satoru whispered disbelievingly.
“We considered that too, and decided not to do it because the axle wouldn’t hold up. How strange. Isn’t it a bad idea to do this with clay?”
Shun squinted at the attacker.