Shooting Stars - 02 Picture

Above, a page from that season's Shooting Stars media guide, featuring their three star rookies entertaining the crowd on the rookies' media day.

The new Stars rookies were expected to make a splash, and make a splash they did. By the fourth game of their first regular season, all were starters. All contributed to the Stars going from a 2-16 record to a 8-10 record. (They were very good players, but not miracle workers.) The improvement was especially pronounced on the offense side, where the Stars went from 34th of 34 teams in total offense to 12th. Defense improved from 30th to 20th; however, in turnovers forced and turnover margin, the Stars went from 33rd to 8th, an improvement almost entirely attributable either to Trey Derek forcing turnovers, or offenses focusing so intensely on him that it freed up other members of the defense to make plays. Despite their team having a losing record, all were voted onto the All-Star teams by the public, and Trey Derek was singled out as Defensive Rookie of the Year, with Demsix and Michfreak tying for Offensive Rookie of the year, awards voted on by a combination of fellow players and the press.

With the arrival of another very good draft class the next season, as well as some key free agent acquistions, all the parts were in place for the team's resurrection. The Stars compiled an 11-6-1 record, their first winning record in nearly a decade, and qualified as a wild card for the playoffs, losing in the conference title game. All three players were again All-Stars, and all three achieved the singular honor of making the ballot for League Player of the year, with the award going to Demsix and his teammates finishing third and fourth in the balloting. Demsix also won Offensive Player of the Year, understandably, with Derek winning Defensive Player of the Year.

The third season, with yet another good intake (and the rising payroll to go with it), the Stars achieved their first glittering peak. A 15-3 record led to another playoff berth -- their first back-to-back in 12 seasons -- followed by a conference title, followed by a long, hard grinding 24-21 overtime win in the league title game over the three time defending champion Gaelics. The usual array of awards followed. All seemed to be in place for a long run at the top.

And then ...

-- I. Noah Lott, professor of current history, comparative and modern mythology and modern media studies, Serenity Falls University, column

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The entire gallery set for the Stars here: Whatever happened to the Shooting Stars?

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