A Tale of Two Softball Teams

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Living in France

Actually, that was the name of the Dickens classic, until someone gently reminded him that his target audience would have no clue what softball was. So, he changed it, and the rest, as they say, is history. Ba dum dum dum…

A most curious thing happened the other day. (Dickens aint got shit on me, eh?) Malcolm is starting with a new baseball team, and on our way to his first practice, I was propositioned. I had fully intended to help coach Malcolm’s team, but one of the existing coaches looked at me after we arrived and nodded off into the distance, “Those people over there are on our softball team, would you like to join them?” Evidently, in France, teams field entries in every age division, so for every U9, U12 team, etc., there is a corresponding U-Past-Your-Prime team. I was stunned. I thought I was lucky to find a team that was closer, both in geography and skill set match for Malcolm, but the new team had so much more to offer. The grown up team practices alongside the youngins, meaning we were BOTH going to be able to play on a team. How cool is that? I dumped my coaching duties in favor of playing duties faster than you can say, “What broken ankle?”

After a grand total of the one practice, I am ready to summarize the differences between softball teams in the two countries. Here they are:

I want to put something bad ass here, but it is hard when the sport is, you know, softball.

I want to put something bad ass here, but it is hard when the sport is, you know, softball.

1. The softball team in France has a coach. He doesn’t play on the team, he just organizes warm ups, practice and teaches the game for those who need help. He hauls the gear out from the shed and sets everything up. Whoa. We had a coach in the US. His name was, “Noodles,” and got the job because he had the worst hair on the team. He tried to collect the league fees from everyone and sent out an email each week telling us when and where the game was. If he ever tried to “help” anyone on the team, we would all died laughing because no one will take softball advice from someone who plays in biker shorts.

2. The softball team in France practices, every week. We work on drills, take batting practice and get into some game-like situations. Pretty routine stuff. A guy suggested we practice on my team in the United States and I bashed in his skull with a batting helmet in front of the others to make the point that softball is an old, fat man’s game that is never to be rehearsed. We haven’t practiced since. Actually, there are probably teams in the US that practice but we were not one of them. My team habitually ended the year in second to last place, and I guess we figured that practice wouldn’t change anything.

3. In France, they warm up. We jogged around the outside of the field a few times, did several kinds of sprints, made the little circles with our arms, and then threw for about ten minutes. We warmed up for around 40 minutes total, the players talking amicably with one another, before getting to the drills. In the US, we went to a bar and drank beer until five minutes before the game began. Then, we’d race to the field, throw the ball back and forth five or six times, and spend the rest of the pregame time looking for a bush to go to the bathroom in. Funny, writing this all down now, I can totally tell why we were never very good.

4. In the US, the game was a completely social affair. The core team has played together for many years and we use it mostly as an opportunity to get out and hang with one another. It is one of the things I miss most about being away from home, Noodles included. Only time will tell whether my new team will be the social outlet that my old team was. For now, I am content to have a team to call my own, an unexpected delight in a land filled with many of them.

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5 responses to “A Tale of Two Softball Teams”

  1. Monkey says:

    Sounds horrible! Practice? Warm ups? Next your gonna be talking like you got a frog in your throat and change your blog to Big Daddy Pepe! You belong to us! Your just on loan don’t forget the people that really hate you! It’s us!

  2. Malena says:

    Hilarious, and I love the ending where you bring it all in for a home run (so to speak. I can’t even pretend I know baseballese).

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