Upstairs, Michael is trying to rally the troops for the game, and when he makes a Lord Of The Rings reference, Dwight tries to help out, only to be told, "Nerd. That's why you're not on the team." Mean! Michael starts his announcement of the starting lineup with "Stanley, of course." Stanley looks up: "I'm sorry?" Michael chooses "skittish and defensive" from his bag of tricks to defend himself against rather frequent claims of racism, and he tries to move on as quickly as possible. Of course, he names himself as a starter. Phyllis says she'd like to play if it's "just for fun," but Michael essentially ignores her. He appoints Jim and Ryan next. Ryan only cares that he'll be on the clock, and Michael assures him that he will be. Oscar offers to play, but Michael says, "I will use your talents come baseball season, my friend. Or if we box." I idly wonder at this moment whether Michael assumes that Oscar lives in a bodega. With a cat. Kevin says he has a basketball hoop in his driveway; Michael refuses. Phyllis says she has a sports bra. Hee. "No, ridiculous," Michael says impatiently. A still-desperate Dwight demonstrates his possible talent by taking a shot at the trashcan, which misses. It's close enough, though, that Michael chooses Dwight as the fifth starter. Dwight also manages to get himself appointed Assistant TO THE Team Manager. When Dwight bristles at Michael's insistence on throwing those extra words in and darkly alludes to who will be working over the weekend, Michael punishes him by yanking back responsibility for the work calendar and forcing it on Jim. "Oh my God," Jim mutters miserably, unsure how he wound up in the middle of this. "Threat neutralized," Michael grandly announces. Except the threat of litigation, of course, which is eternal.
Oscar makes a perfect shot into the trash. Kevin makes a perfect shot into the trash. Stanley's shot swings wide. Got it? Michael's toss from off-screen literally hits Pam in the forehead, causing her to say with careful, coiled fury, "Please don't throw garbage at me." Michael asks her to be the cheerleader, suggesting a halter top and other trappings. She turns him down, only in part because she can't root against Roy. Jim offers to do it, including the "flouncy skirt." "I bet you would," Michael tries to shit-talk back. "Just try not to be too gay on the court." Jim's eyes widen and he purses his lips, in a look you will see many times. And then you get his very first conspiratorial "Did you get that?" look into the camera. History in the making, people. Michael assures us he didn't mean "gay" as "homosexual." He meant it in the "bad at sports" way. Well, thank God, seriously. I was about to blanch! Pam offers up Angela, but Phyllis volunteer for the cheering in lieu of the playing. "Oh, yuchhhh, that's worse than you playing," Michael says unkindly. Phyllis looks wounded, and Michael recognizes in some clunking, rubber-band-powered portion of his brain that a line has been crossed, so he corrects himself that they need her to be an alternate. "Blessed be those who sit and wait," he tells her. Hey, if there's anyone I would trust to rewrite the beatitudes, it would be Michael.