Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: Talkin' Softball

19 Responses

  • Russell Brown,

    I played softball through school, usually as catcher or shortstop, and even coached a junior team one year.

    But towards the end it became clear to me that I just wasn't good enough to continue. My last game was against a Cashmere High team whose pitcher was bringing the ball back over the plate. My first turn at bat was a humiliating stand-up strikeout -- I genuinely thought every pitch was off line.

    One thing I did love about softball was what it possible to do with the ball. If you throw it really hard, with the right wrist action, it's possible to make it corkscrew through the air to your target. It feels, and looks, great.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18824 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I played softball through school, usually as catcher or shortstop, and even coached a junior team one year.

    We should put a team together. We could play other blogs

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    The older I get, the better I was.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1494 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    I don't like American sports. I think I'm too Englished.

    I do like this blog though, especially the bit where you fall on your arse. You should fall on your arse in blogs more often. :)

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 886 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    There is a softball diamond close to the railway line, up in the hills behind Fuengirola in Andalucia. Which is where I stumbled my way through a series of 'Residentes V Toursitas' games at the end of 77, start of 78.
    Standing in the right outfield, a chilled bottle of San Miguel in 1 hand, mitt on the other... what fun we had!
    The USians and the Canadians generally took it a bit more seriously (often not even drinking in the field) but the Aussies, Kiwis and assorted others were there for both booze and softball and generally acquitted themselves well. Often some non-plussed North Americans looking at an antipodean sideways thinking 'How the fuck did he do that?'

    Haven't played since.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Hadyn Green,

    We should put a team together. We could play other blogs

    I'd be keen. Although my last game was during an ESL youth camp, about an hour West of Tokyo in 1991.

    Not sure of the correct terminology, but 'smacked it out of the park' is how I remember it. Most likely a once in a life time shot though. And playing against 14 year olds.

    I really enjoyed this blog post BTW. It's kind of aspirational.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2134 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    A group of my friends and I have played slowpitch softball for the last 15 years as part of the central slowpitch softball league. The league has been run for all that time by Jerry who is also a rocketeer hence the name of his team the public missiles.

    Over the years we've been competitive at times, but pregnancies (last year we noted the one of the team had had her first game in utero) and injuries and just plain getting old has had it's toll on the team.

    Slowpitch is nice because most folks can actually hit the ball, unlike fastpitch and there a few rule changes that are designed to avoid having overly competitive 40 yr olds collide with each other.

    I play centre field and I love it. As much as hitting the ball really well is fun there is absolutely nothing like the pleasure you get from sprinting (yeah right) at full speed to make a catch that nobody thought you would ever get close to. That moment when the ball slaps into the glove at full stretch, the moment just after as you mentally check to make sure all the tendons and ligaments are still in place ... magic.

    As I said at times our team has been competitive, but now we are much happier in the second division. We made a real effort to avoid playing in the top division because frankly none of us need that shit anymore. Our aim for each game is to avoid injury and hopefully to avoid throwing a tantrum and spoiling our chances at the sportsmanship trophy.

    Sadly this may have been our last year. Over the years the roster has changed and some of the close friends have stopped playing and some of the new folks just aren't as much fun to have a beer with after the game. And yes it might just be a bit too hard to run around the bases any more.

    But for those wanting something to do on a mild Monday evening in summer I strongly recommend the slowpitch league.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3320 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    If you throw it really hard, with the right wrist action

    ... you can throw it right over the head of first base and over the dead ball line :(

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3320 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    +1 for Slowpitch.

    For those who don't know the game, the pitch has to be slow, arcing between 6 and 14 feet, which makes it easy to hit. To compensate, you have 10 fielders (1 extra outfielder), and no stealing (a base-runner can't leave the base until the ball is hit).

    This makes for a game where everyone is involved, most of the time. We play in a mixed league, and batters must alternate male/female.

    Good fun.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 412 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    there a few rule changes that are designed to avoid having overly competitive 40 yr olds collide with each other.

    These must be some robust rules. Do you have on-field arbitration?

    ETA: Wow! Blog spam. Not something you see every day.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2134 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Touche

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1494 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to JacksonP,

    These must be some robust rules. Do you have on-field arbitration?

    That's one reason why I like second division, less issue with 40 yr olds arguing rules as if they were olympic class athletes instead of old folks out having fun.

    Not that I haven't been guilty of being "that guy" in the past.

    BTW Brent and I play in the same team :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3320 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My great-cousins, Mark, Dean and Brent Stephenson of Johnsonville, all played softball at a high level, and Brent was good enough to be recruited by a company team in the US, which paid for an apartment, housekeeper, car and university education.

    The best thing they ever did for me was give me a supple, weathered glove that bore the name of the "Richard Hadlee of softball", Kevin Herlihy. (I also associate them with Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies.)

    I used that glove a lot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18824 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    You can't change teams Hadyn, it's against the rules!!!

    Anyways, the yankees spend twice as much as any team in the MLB on player salaries and are expected to win the World Series every year so more times than not they will underachieve abd really piss their fans off.

    I'm a token Red Sox follower but not into it enough to get upset by a loss or overly happy with a win. There's always the other 160 games to watch them play.... before the playoffs even start.

    The school I teach at won the national secondary school softball champs last year and were runners up this year. Google that one. Probably floating around there somewhere.

    Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    I agree that American sports are hard to stomach, most particularly football/gridiron which is primarily bad theatre, The exceptions are ice hockey and baseball, which has a pace and structure akin to cricket. When I was doing my PhD in Ohio in the 1980s, I got together with an assorted bunch of Indian and Pakistani grad students, to set up cricket matches, to the bewilderment of the locals (even though cricket has a long history in some parts of the US, such as North Carolina.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2305 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    hockey has a structure akin to cricket in what respect?

    To me it seems flat out, barely laying eyes on the ball (puck) chaos vs stop start subtle nuanced stroke play, sprawling out over several hours/days. Even the shortest form takes an hour longer than a game of hockey vs the one day, 3 day, 5 day variety.

    Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But for those wanting something to do on a mild Monday evening in summer I strongly recommend the slowpitch league.

    Can you remind me about this next summer?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18824 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Can you remind me about this next summer?

    Heh I can try, but since a frequently forget why I went down the corridor ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3320 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca,

    Woah changing to the Yankees is like changing to supporting Man U. You could at least do what I did and change from the Yankees to the Red Sox...!

    I was never a big baseball fan (except the playoffs), but watching the in depth Baseball doco from PBS got me more into it to hear the history and love that people in the States have for it. Recommended for any sports fan

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

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