Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rounders for boys

Spring has sprung and in the wake of the shock that followed the melting of snow and ice, the Physics department has formed a softball team. Softball, fellow Brits, is exactly like rounders except not socially confined to small school girls in gym skirts. The ball, also, IS NOT SOFT. This horrifically inaccurate misnomer is doubtless there to lure innocent postdocs away from their desks with the thought 'Eh, what's the worst that can happen?'[*]. On a plus side, I did get to wear a mit so I had one GIGANTIC hand. It was ace.

Despite being reassured that it was fine to play with only one day spectating the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team as way of recent experience, I was mildly apprehensive about batting. I mean, my memories of outer fielding told me that, positioned carefully, I could probably play solitaire on my iPhone inbetween pitches (except I had this GIGANTIC hand, did I mention?). Batting, on the other (smaller) hand, puts you front stage. There's even a diamond to emphasise this. Fortunately, I didn't turn out to be as big a failure as I anticipated. Metal hit ball frequently. Sometimes the ball even went somewhere. This was almost certainly due to our skilled pitcher, but hey! If he plays with us in the games who's to know? The bat, incidentally, is way heavier than the little wooden rounders bats I used to swing. My wrists got quite sore after a few.

Returning to fielding, I discovered a clash with my game play in other sports. I had an unpleasant habit of stopping the ball with my shin or shoe. I do this with the puck in hockey all the time; stopping it on the side of my ... padded ... skate or, um ... shin pad. Ah yes. That would be why it didn't hurt then. A friend commented I 'took one for the team'. I grimaced and tried to pretend that I was just hard like that.

Next practice, I'm going to stop staring at my GIGANTIC hand and catch a ball in the glove. Small goals. It's going to be great. 

[*] The answer to that quandary will doubtless be covered in future posts.

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