Sunday, December 18, 2005


Thanks to Julian, Benjamin and Peter for turning up to my 40th birthday bash yesterday. Good to have a Loan Wolves presence there - and sorry about my friends repeatedly asking accusingly ; "was it you who broke Andy's finger?"

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Softball training at Latchmere - December 11th

Three Wolves turned up this afternoon for a pretty intensive indoor session. Peter, Ben and Julian. We practiced catching, throwing, fielding balls running along the ground and batting. Learned some more about tagging. A batsman who leaves a base when they dont have to is called Unforced and the only way a fielder can get them out is by tagging.

We played some actual games as well and I was able to have a go at pitching - although indoor pitching is very different from the real pitching as you do not have to throw anything like as far.

It was a very useful three hours.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Softball Party

Really enjoyed the meal in Islington on Friday evening. A good turn out by the Wolves. I was very pleased with my certificate. Thank you to all concerned for taking so much trouble.

A group of us repaired to a local pub afterwards where probably because I wasnt sufficiently plastered I got rather cold. Headed home about 11.30pm - no trouble with the trains

Shall be turning out for the training on Sunday in Battersea

Monday, December 05, 2005


The old Simpsons episode with the works softball team was on C4 last night. I found myself taking the sports side seriously, watching to see how they animated the pro baseball players' throwing movements.
Also spotted that they were playing fastpitch:
9 a side. No women playing. When Homer gets hit by a pitch, he gets a walk (and wins the game) - in slowpitch, it's just counted as a ball if a pitch hits the batter.
And enjoyed Mr Burns's managing style:
"Strawberry, hit a home run!"
[Daryl Strawberry hits a home run]
"I told him to do that!"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Early Xmas present for Darren

A large-ish wolfpack turned out last night to present Darren with tokens of our appreciation for all his coaching. We met at Firefly, a very shiny bar off Clapham Common. Darren seemed very happy with the bottle of Jameson's we got him, and kindly shared round the Oreos and Hershey kisses. As always, we hung on his every word for tips and advice (squashing your glove under table legs etc is apparanetly good for breaking it in, and outfielders should either have good arms or be very fast). A good time was had by all, and the party didn't break up till chucking out time (where's 24 hour drinking when you need it, eh?).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I caught this morning morning's softball

A useful training session this morning for the faithful Wolves who showed up. Alison, Manjiv, Kate, Peter and Julian. A beautiful bracing frosty day. The brilliant Darren was there to help us practice throwing - much tougher than it looks to crack that.

The throwing warmed me up well and then during the game I froze again. Too much standing around - at least there were some gorgeous hunks batting.

Alison made a fine catch, Manjiv was her ever dependable and enthusiastic self. Julian hit the ball too high and got caught out All in all I enjoyed it very much in spite of the mud and the nippy weather. There is a lot for poor me and the rest to practice before next spring.

Broken finger

I missed this morning's training session, as I was off to A&E finally getting my injured finger from last time sorted out. Turns out that the ball broke it when it hit it end on. So when I returned to the game, I was in fact batting with a broken finger!
More details in my LJ.
Anyhow, it shouldn't take too long to heal up, so I should be able to train again by January. Hope those of you who could make it today had a good time.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

There's a hole in my bat, dear Liza, dear Liza...

This morning, four wolves made their way to deepest darkest Clapham for the Sunday indoor development session. Uner the tutelage of Darren and Tim we started off with some basic skills, including different types of throwing and catching. The underlying rule seems to be 'pretend you are in a cheesey baseball film, and your throwing and catching will be better'....or at least that is what I found to work best!

As we were indoors we were using the softer softballs, and it took a bit of getting used to. They bounced and they don't take your hand off if you catch it wrong.

We then moved on to a really useful fielding drill, giving us practise at fielding at and to first base, before getting into more of a game scenario with three mini teams of 4-a-side. It is at this point that my morning started to go slightly off course as I couldn't bat for toffee! I have never claimed to be the best batter in the world, but I usually make some kind of contact - not today! Maybe it was the different ball, maybe it was the scaled down pitch, maybe it was the lights, maybe I was just naff today - but I was much more comfortable at the pitcher's plate or in the field than on the batting side.

The indoor game proved to be very good for practising the fielding skills, as the ball got into play more often, and the presence of the walls and ceilings meant that it never got too far out of play either.

This morning also marked the start of our media campaign. A photographer from the local paper came along to the session to take some publicity shots. I have obviously missed my vocation as a model (!) as I had to pose with the bat...and I think Manjiv was snapped in an action shot...I wonder if we will ever get to see them...anyone who lives near clapham - keep an eye out!

I hope I can safely say that we all had a good session, and I'm sure our skills will be that much better for it! Shame our captain didn't make it out of bed in time to join us! - lol ;)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Inspired by a dream that Richard had last night, the softball discussion in the Northampton Square branch of the pack turned to possible mottos for the team.

At the moment the following is proposed, based on the fact there is probably about an 80/20 ratio of the amount of time we spend discussing softball and all it entails, and the amount of time we spend playing....

"faeneror lupus ut sermo multus est laurifer"

For those who may be a little rushy on the old latin, this translates (we think) as

"The loaning wolf that talks a lot is victorious"

Comments please...

Monday, November 07, 2005

From Andy's LJ

My write-up of Saturday's session

Andy says....

Softball practice yesterday morning, in a muddy Finsbury Park - though once again we escaped actually being rained on, and even got some sun. Don't know how long our luck with the weather will hold as Winter draws in, though. Darren (the Mr Miyagi to our Daniel-San) had us practising throwing techniques and batting. Then a practice game.
There were a bunch of guys from a diferent team there, who were really into it, which made the atmosphere less relaxed (for me at least). Interestingly, they weren't always that much better than us - one of them made a great deal of practice swinging, and choosing which bat suited him best, then immediately got struck out by Kate.
Practice was good - my throwing distance is definitely improving. One of the drills had us kneeling to throw to our partners, so we had to twist from the hips, and with all the recent rain, the ground is pretty boggy. Dutifully, we all squelched down in the ooze. Except Ben. Ben, who Richard called "Super Ben", the ice-hockey player and serious athlete, ran off and came back with a plastic bag to kneel on. Maybe mud's his kryptonite.
I certainly blooded (or muddied) my new glove. Last week, I bought one of the only two softball gloves in JJB Sports in Croydon. It's nice to have your own kit. Getting a bat is going to be a harder proposition - they don't sell official softball regulation bats over here, and I'd like a slightly heavier one than the ones we have borrowed from the BSUK "development kit". The other purchase from JJB, a cheap pair of football shinguards, paid for itself at least twice over yesterday. It's good to know you can rush in to stop a ground ball without cracking your shinbone severely...
I didn't get to do much in the field during the game, sadly - balls just weren't generally coming in my direction (Right Field, then First Base, for a change from Second). Still, it was good to be out and doing something of a Saturday morning.
After the game, we went for a beer at the Finsbury. We decided that the reason it's so cheap is because it's so dodgy. Some geezer selling knock-off lighters (though last time was odder, with an old bloke trying to flog horrible china dolls), iffy clientele, and a sign on the door saying anyone bringing drugs in would get barred. Maybe next time, we'll go somewhere else...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Like wolves in mud...

I think someone up there must be on the loan wolves' side, as it was another sunny (if a bit chilly) session on Saturday morning in Finsbury Park. And, another fantastic turnout of Wolves and opponents - we seem to be growing every week - enough for a full game this time

After a warm-up throwing drill which had Darren get us all on our knees in the mud (A most notable moment as Ben ran to get his pre-prepared plastic bag to kneel on - we may have to rethink that 'super ben ' epithet) we got into some serious (and seriously needed batting drills). It is certainly much harder than it looks and the key is definitely keeping your eye on the ball.

After a short break we then got into a game. Our pitching is still pretty hit and miss (or should that be 'strike and ball') but we are definitely all improving and there were some pretty cool fielding moments once the ball got into play.

Each time we have a training session, my body seems to find a different muscle to cause me pain the following morning - this time it is my right forearm - so if anyone knows any exercises for strenghtening this part of the body, please let me know!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Hi to all Loan Wolves

I hope you all have a good training session tomorrow. I shant be with you this time as I am attending a friend's poetry reading down in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast

I think we are making significant progress and the commitment is certainly impressive

I am also a blogger on a book group blog and I have put my full profile on that. I have mentioned Softball as one of my interests. This links me up with people all over the world who are interested in Softball

All the best

Friday, October 28, 2005

From Jane

Our practice session on Saturday 22nd October went really well.
We are definitely coming together as a team. Fielding has especially
improved, although I personally have to do something about catching
at least one of those huge hits that come my way occassionally!

My muscles generally do not hurt as much the following day as they
did when we first began this softball malarkey - this I believe is a good
sign. The exception however is my buttock and thigh muscles! I'm
new to pitching and oh my goodness how they hurt Sunday morning.
But no pain, no gain as they say, and if I could just develop a bit of
consistency such as Kate has mastered then I shall be away laughing
(and there will be less of the 'moon throws'). Darren shared with me top
pitching tactics but to be honest I'm just trying to throw 'em roughly in
the direction of the batting plate at present.

Speaking of throwing, can I just apologise for the 'low blow' Ben copped
from my throw at short stop during the drills. Hopefully the family jewels
are intact. I have found that it can be just as effective to throw underarm
at close distances, and safer!

Can I put in a plea for us South Londoners that we have the odd practice
session at a pitch in Clapham Junction or perhaps Wandsworth? It takes
me well over an hour to get to Finsbury Park. I accept that Finsbury Park
is likely to be our 'home pitch' which is fine because for league matches
we'll be travelling from work. Other sides we'll be facing in the league
apparently have Clapham Common as their home pitches so it may be
worth us checking it out to be more comfortable with the games we'll have
to play there. And I'll get a longer sleep in. (Now that's what I call team spirit!)


Monday, October 24, 2005

Howling in the park

When I was picked as second reserve in the class rounders b-team when I was 12 (the lowest position without actually falling off the bottom), I never thought I would voluntarily get out of bed on a Saturday morning in October in order to play Softball in a muddy park! Not only that, but I have somehow found myself assuming the role of pitcher for a good part most of the day - I didn't realise how tiring it would get, and how much my left leg and right arm would ache the next day. I have now realised that pitching is very much like doing lots and lots of lunges on one leg...very good for that leg's muscles...if you are used to it, that is.

All in all it was a pretty fantastic turnout in Finsbury Park yesterday morning, especially considering the less than encouraging weather forecasts. The Loan Wolves did it again, coming out in force for a fantastic day's practice.

Darren from the softball league came along to coach us and this was tremendously helpful. We worked through drills on ground throws, fielding big hitters, and double plays, and he was full of invaluable advice both during the training and afterwards in the pub.

People are starting to find there natural preferences in terms of positions and fielding techniques and although still shakey at times, our fielding is definitely improving! A great few hours were had by all.

Saturday 22nd October - from Andy's web journal

Had a good softball session yesterday. It was a mild, sunny day, despite the ominous weather forecasts. Ground muddy underfoot, and a huge puddle around the pitcher's plate, thanks to several days' rain, but we could live with that (well, Jane and Kate who were pitching weren't too happy about that puddle...). We had almost two full teams worth of players, including some from the other dev team, and Darren from BSUK was there to coach us. We practised fielding ground balls, throwing to cut-offs and double plays between short-stops and second basemen, then played a practice game. The practice drills Darren had us doing were great - really helpful.
Thanks to expert batting coaching, my batting has actually got worse. I was trying to improve my technique according to what Darren showed us, but thinking "is my elbow high enough...when should I twist into the the bat straight...?" just distracted me from concentrating on the ball. Still, it'll be worth it if I start improving the distance I can hit the ball. Fielding still rubbish, though I am slowly improving a bit. I hope. Overall, the team played really well - Peter took an outstanding deep catch at Centre Field, and there were several outs at First Base. Kate's really getting good at pitching - she reckoned the photos of herself from the tournament had helped her see where she could improve her technique.
As we weren't covered in mud and drenched by rain, we went to the pub rather than straight home. Went to The Finsbury, which was surprisingly cheap, and sat outside (avoiding hassles about taking bats into pubs). Had a good drink and chat. Darren gave us lots of tactical advice, of which I can remember:
1. Pitchers should mix up deliveries as much as the rules allow - deliberately bowl the odd ball rather than strike, aim at different areas of the strike zone, etc.
2. Short-stop is a really important position.
3. Put the heaviest hitting batters at 4-6 or therabouts in the line-up. Put solid base-hitters at 1-3. that way, a home run from a big hitter bats in more runs than if there was no-one on base ahead of them.
4. Don't think you have to slide into base if you aren't comfortable with your ability to do so safely; "it's better to take the out than end up in hospital".
We can probably do some useful work on tactics, rules, etc over the Winter when the weather stops us practising. I managed to acquire a book on rules from the US, thanks to BookCrosser momofap. I've read it through, and passed it onto Richard to circulate round the rest of the team.
I really have enjoyed playing softball - it's good to be outside doing something on a Saturday morning, and it's been a motivator to try and take more exercise. Plus, it's a good game - exciting and engaging whether you're fielding, batting or running, and with a lot going on - you have to concentrate mentally, and, as we've learned, there's a lot of teamwork involved. It helps that the Wolves are a great bunch of people, and we value the social aspect of the game. And as a side effect, it has actually improved cross-site communication in City LIS!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Saturday 8th October

9 Wolves keenly made their way to Finsbury park, along with a few members of the development team and a couple of guest-wolves for what turned out to be a very enjoyable and productive session. The 9 included a newly recruited wolf cub, Alex, who straight away displayed his potential as one of the team's big hitters!

We started by dividing into two groups for some pitching and batting practice, before heading into the main section of the session - a game made up of three mini teams - one infield, one outfield and one batting. This gave everyone a chance to try out different positions and also to have a good old go at batting. We made it through 2 innings each, and as the session progressed our improvement was clear as we started to get more people out. Practising in a real game-type scenario is definitely the way to honeour skills, reactions and tactics.

Personally I enjoyed the chance to have a good go at pitching and to do a bit of shouting!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Some bitchin' pitchin'

Lone or Loan? Why it matters!

This is from the website:

Lone Wolves

What happens to dispersing wolves who cannot find a mate and territory? What happens to them if they do not return home? What happens to them if they return home but are rejected by their former pack? They become 'lone' wolves, not living in a pack but surviving on the edge of established wolf pack territories, waiting until conditions improve for them.

Lone wolves keep out of the way of resident packs, they risk being killed by them if they do not, while at the same time try to find enough food to live on. Many dispersing wolves are unsuccessful and simply die - like seeds scattered in the wind falling on stony ground. Lone wolves have low survival rates. In any wolf population some five to twenty percent of wolves are lone wolves.

and this is from the deep dark depths of my soul:

Loan Wolves
What happens to librarians who have too much time on their hands? What happens to them if they feel the need for team bonding, particularly with far flung cross site colleagues? What happens to them if they want the chance to exercise, talk tactics and discuss techniques in the pub? They become 'loan' wolves.

Loan wolves work together as a team, encouraging and supporting each other's attempts to develop and hone their batting, pitching and fielding skills. Even when they lose, they are still a success, and refuse to lie down and die. Loan wolves have a 100% survival (although occassionally suffer the odd injury) In any (cool) library population some five to twenty percent of librarian's are loan wolves.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Team Photo

Vic's post-tourney tale

Vic says :

Manjiv and I decided that the pub in Wood Green was too far away for our tired and cold limbs, so we joined the rest of the tournament players in the local clubhouse round the corner from the park.

The beer was cheap and the other softballers were very friendly and encouraging. A number of the players from the better teams, including the Panthers, came up to us and congratulated us on our efforts. Some of the Panthers admitted feeling sorry for us at first, but told us that we certainly had potential and would get better the more we practiced. I got some good pitching tips whilst waiting to be served at the bar and we heard some great softball injury tales. We spent quite a lot of time chatting to the other development team players and we all agreed to keep in touch and keeping on training together.

The prizes for the 1st and 2nd places in each league were handed out as were the prizes for the winners of the tournament and all-star game. We weren't left out. Each team's MVP got a prize and we collected Kate's award on her behalf. Congratulations!!

I left the club after a few beers feeling tired, tipsy and a little sore but eager to go out there again.

Manjiv's post tourney tale


Somehow I thought I would have gotten softball fever out of my head after the tournament…alas it’s steadily getting worse. I’ve been suffering from “softball withdrawal symptoms” all day yesterday, and despite sore aching muscles did make a brave attempt to go and throw a ball around the park. Unfortunately I had to admit defeat after a mere 2 minutes and return home to my comfy pyjamas and lots of tea…

So Saturday… both Vic and I went down to the clubhouse (great place for cheap beer and surprisingly (!) found ourselves surrounded by a lot of like minded softball enthusiasts). A great cheer for Kate (hip hip hooray) who received an MVP award for our team – she is now the proud owner of a New York Yankees baseball cap – I wonder what Colin will make of it?? Wear it with pride Kate!!

We spent a couple of hours in the company of members of the other development team, got chatting and one thing led to another and we thought it would be a good idea to continue our Monday night practices if possible. Would the wolves be willing to attend practice sessions at regent’s park playing against the development team. I think this may be a good opportunity to not only work on practicing our essential game skills but also improve how we work together as a team? Could I get an idea of interest so I can let the development team know – they are very enthusiastic to do this as well>

Could you also have a look at the link below regarding indoor softball and let me know if firstly, you’d like to be involved in this, and secondly if you’d prefer weekly or bi-weekly sessions?

Finally, could you let me know your late night duties for scheduling purposes?

that’s all from me for now, Manjiv

Tournament - Andy's story

Our team has only been going for about a month, in which time we've attended three or four development sessions run by the Greater London Softball Mixed League. We hadn't played in a real match before yesterday. So this was to be the Loan Wolves' blooding. And not the "Lone Wolves", as we were listed in the tournament schedule. That would just have been a stupid name, rather than our clever library pun. The day started chill but bright, and soon warmed up to be surprisingly hot (certainly felt it on the outfield during our last match). I've been so lucky this year, in that all the outdoors weekend events I've been involved in over the Summer - the bicycle opera in Trafalgar Square, swordfighting display, the treasure hunt and now this tournament - have been blessed with sunny weather. Maybe next year, I'll get rained on from May to September...

We assembled at Finsbury Park cricket and softball pitch, some of us having had to get up very early (why couldn't they have picked a South London venue?). We soon realised that this "development tournament" was being played between teams who were mostly well-established and had been playing in Division Four all last year. The other "dev team" was peppered with experienced players to make up the numbers. We had our "uniform" on - red T shirts and tops. Alarmingly, everyone else seemed to have matching shirts with squad numbers, logos, and even their individual nicknames on the back. I had my grey "Wolves" baseball hat - Wolverhampton Wanderers that is, but the wolf's head logo still fitted. We had several supporters - family, and members of LIS - who turned out to see us play, which was really heartening. There were also a couple of friendly dogs about, baffled by seeing so many balls and sticks, but none being thrown for them. One large, amiable German Shepherd decided to wander onto the pitch for the All-Star game. We considered adopting him as the Wolves' mascot. Some of our players got in an extra game, as two of the other teams were short of women players. The rules are quite strict about having 50-50 male-female teams and field positions - I supose to create fairness in a mixed sport. I didn't play in our first match, as we had 11 players and wanted to give everyone a game. So I was checking the batting line-up and attempting to make sense of the score-sheets and scoring system. I deciphered how the scorecard works, but found it tricky keeping track not just of the current batter but also of up to three runners at once, with any one or more of them potentially getting out during any play. I have a feeling that baseball/softball scoring must appeal to the US sports statistician every bit as much as cricket scoring does to English stattoes.

We had some great moments in the first game against the other development team, scoring runs (including a home-run to captain Richard) and taking catches, but sadly we soon realised the gulf in our experience and that of the opposition. With only a few hours training and zero match experience, we were never going to win the tournament. The second game (and my first) was against the Panthers. I'm afraid that my contribution at 2nd base was pretty poor, certainly in our first fielding innings. However, in the course of this game, we started to come together much better as a team, and our final innings in the field resulted in 2 outs for no runs, two of them coming from improved teamwork between Jane at short stop and myself at second base. The Panthers were Division Four champions this year, and way out of our class. They definitely played for us, giving us chances (and a lot of tips and advice), but again we were not as victorious as we'd have liked.

Game three, against Glove Me Tender, saw us encountering some really big-hitting batters. I was in the outfield as rover, and saw a lot of balls soar over the players at left and centre field. The only time I was at bat, I managed not to get myself struck out, but didn't make it past second base. In this game, for the first time ever, I wore a baseball hat turned backwards - I noticed that I was out in the field with my back to the sun, and my neck was starting to get a bit warm. Is this the start of the slippery slope to Americanisation? We noticed the enthusiastic shouting and catchphrases form the teams playing (many of which had a fair few US players), and the obligatory high-fives and cheers. At the moment, we're still a bit British and reserved by most teams' standards. We couldn't even bring ourselves to do a team howl, despite being called the Wolves. We then had a few drinks and watched our batter Emily fill in again in the "Plate" final. She did well (with the other Wolves as her own personal cheering section), and the Dazzlers won. Don't think they even bought her a beer for her trouble, though.

We then watched the All-Star game between chosen players of the top two divisions, and were really impressed by the throwing and catching skills they brought to the game. Then on to a pub in Wood Green, where we had a bite to eat and another beer, then made our weary ways home (I was so weary, I fell asleep on the Tube - thanks for waking me up at Victoria, Peter). Injuries for the day included Richard's impressively-grazed knee, Alison's wrenched knee, my pulling something in my leg trying to reach third base, and Julian, who stopped a very fast-moving ball and hurt his hand. The first-aiders gave him a bag of ice for it, to stop it swelling. When this melted, he was left with a plastic bag of cold water - "where's the goldfish?" comments abounded. Overall, the day was a real learning experience for us. We saw the difference that practice and experience make, for one thing. We managed to improve throughout the day, but even though we have some very good players (I am most definitely not one of them) we need to train seriously and regularly if we are to be able to compete.

I must say, my team-mates played with real commitment and determination, and no little skill. I am impressed by the courage it must have taken to pitch against teams of seasoned batters, by the hitting which brought our runs, and the fielding which got some very good players out. I think the match experience was definitely worth having, as we now know what we should be aiming for over the WInter if we are to try joining the league in May. One thing that struck me was how much we've all learned about the game, which is quite complicated, already. We sounded quite knowledgeable as we explained it to our supporters. I wonder if, next time I see a baseball movie, it won't all sound like a foreign language.

Be interesting to see how the Loan Wolves have improved by next season, anyway.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Wednesday 21st September

A pack of seven Wolves for tonight’s session. Some more throwing and catching (big improvements all round here I think), featuring several mammoth long-distance moon probes from Ben, guaranteeing him one of the outfield berths for the "tourney" Saturday. We also did some pitching and gentle batting practice in well-drilled groups of three or four players.

Some of us are getting used to the nervous looks from fellow tube- and bus-travellers as they notice the dangerous metal bats sticking out of our bags. They might come in handy if we start doing Library patrols again…

Hey, check out the link opposite (or here?) Softball UK News :our media saturation plans are coming together!

If only they spelt our name right...


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tuesday 20th September

A small but perfectly formed gathering of four took to the field to practice a few skills. We mainly concentrated on building confidence in throwing and catching, but also took a bit of time to have another go at pitching. (Although it now seems that we measured the distance wrong, so we will have to try and induce muscle forgetfulness for the pitches that went well!) It felt like we really improved over the hour or so we spent practising and if we carry on like this world domination is well within our sights!

Monday 19th September Training Session

A good turn out tonight with a full team compliment of 10 wolves making it to Regent's Park. For a couple of us it was the first session, and a bit of a baptism of fire, as we got into a game more or less straight away. Once again more and more mini and micro rules emerged in the course of the practice, but bit and pieces are gradually sinking in (I hope!).

Emily has already distinguished herself as a bit of a big hitter, and several of us had a go at pitching. Personally, I now see pitching as a kind head to head duel between pitcher and batter - balls versus strikes - who can hold out the longest....or maybe I am taking it all a bit too seriously!

We then followed the session very entertainng pub visit, where we talked tactics, worked out batting orders and considered the nickname possibilities - Fordo, Evesy, Woodsie...being just a few of the more obvious examples. Nothing like a good nickname to intimidate the enemy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Favourite Positions

Jane says:

Here are the field and batting decisions we made at the pub.
Everyone has a first choice and a second choice. Some made
no choice at all on account of not being at the pub. (You see
it pays to drink!)

Remember the first choices are just for the first game of the
tournament and can be changed in subsequent games if we feel
like it! There are 11 people listed so 2 people have 'outfield
somewhere' down as a 'choice'.... And the pitchers of course
will change around within the first game!

ALISON 1st outfield somewhere 2nd 1st base
ANDY 1st centre field (right) 2nd centre field (right)
BEN 1st centre field (left) 2nd short stop
EMILY 1st left field 2nd centre field (left)
JANE 1st 3rd base 2nd left field
JULIAN 1st right field 2nd outfield somewhere
KATE 1st pitcher 2nd 2nd base
MANJIV 1st catcher 2nd 3rd base
PETER 1st 1st base 2nd pitcher
RICHARD 1st short stop 2nd catcher
VIC 1st 2nd base 2nd pitcher

And then we have our batting line-up. Thanks to Fordo for volunteering
to bat first!

1. Alison
2. Richard
3. Emily
4. Peter
5. Kate
6. Ben
7. Vic
8. Andy
9. Jane
10. Julian
11. Manjiv

Yeh!!! Go the Lone Wolves!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Spontaneous Softballing!

Ben says :

We had five softball enthusiasts turn out for throwing and catching practice in our new training facility, King's Square Gardens (Congratulations to Jane, Peter, Alison and Manjiv). Our only problem was that between us we only had 2 gloves (including 1 small baseball glove) and 1 softball. We warmed up by playing throwing and catching then switched to some much needed pitching practice, using my Tupperware lunch box lid as a make shift batting plate. I am still in awe of anyone who can consistently pitch well, because it is so hard to get it the right height, length and direction to get those valuable potential strikes rather than wayward 'balls'.
After this, we changed to a training drill created 'on the fly' by yours truly. I conceived it would involve all five of us, taking into account the equipment shortfall. The following may become a little technical, but hey that's softball, a complicated American game. We had two people on bases (made up of our coats/bags etc.) two fielders and a 'batter'. I say batter, but their job was to start the play by throwing the ball out into the field (loosely simulating a batter's strike). Next the fielder's had to field the ball working out which one was going for it by shouting out their name. Once under the fielder's control (which often involved retrieving the said ball from the bushes) they threw it to either first or third base. Meanwhile the batter jogged around the roughly set out diamond, to keep up the 'game' feel to the practice. I think we all learned how difficult it is throwing the softball accurately to the person on the base, so that they can stay on base ready to get people out, as opposed to just doing regular throwing and catching practice.
We all switched around positions to get some valuable fielding, and base practice, although the batting simulation was a little energetic for all of us who at the start had expected to just come to a gentle 'throwing and catching' session. That's softball fever ladies and gentleman.
Hope to see more of you at the practices next week and remember to try to round up some support for the Loan Wolves first tournament on Saturday 24th September.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Learning the lingo

Peter, I've upgraded this to a full blown post - so that people don't miss it.

Everyone, feel free to send anything to me, if you want me to post it as a separate post.

Peter says:

I think it's important that we start trying to master "softball-speak". Screaming some knowing phrases at one another might just be the sort of thing to put the willies up our opposition in the tournament.

I'd like to share a couple of phrases I've picked up from the coaches in the Regents Park sessions to get the ball rolling (so to speak) with this:

Firstly, "Where's the play?": shouted by a fielder and meaning, if I have understood correctly, "if the ball comes my way next time the batter hits the ball, where in the name of all that is holy should I throw it?" A typical answer would be "third base", meaning that there is a batter standing at second base and there's every chance of getting him/her out if we throw to third. (Please anybody correct me if I'm wrong with this.)

Secondly, the almost totally pointless "We have a batter!" apparently shouted out at the beginning of an innings meaning, roughly, "Ladies and gentlemen, please take your places. Play is about to commence". What a palaver...

Have any other readers had similar experiences, I wonder?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Training session Monday 12th September

Another Monday, another victorious training session. This time we spent a good amount of time practising throwing and catching and then we moved on to all have a go at pitching. It is certainly more difficult than it looks and balls were going all over the place. It seems to be a matter of getting the length, height and line all right at the same time. However, a few of us seemed to show a little promise...and allowing for lots of practice time, we may just be able to cope.

We were then split into teams and given the chance to take turns batting and playing both outfield and infield. Once again the game scenario allowed us to get our heads around a few of the more subtle rules. For example I learnt that it is perfectly ok to stop during your run from one base to another, turn around and run back to where you started - as long as no one is directly behind you that is, and bearing in mind that someone can chase you back to tag you with the ball.

There is talk of meeting up over the next few days for sessions where we can practise the basic this space!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Training session Monday 5th Sept

A great time was had by everyone who attended yesterday's session at Regent's Park. We went, we pitched, we batted, and we ran. We may well have found our star pitcher in Ben (no pressure Ben), Julian proved an enormous asset in centre field, and both Inhee and Alison demonstrated their swift reflexes on second base. And me? I think I may have found my calling as "catcher" although full body armour may be needed -- does that softball hurt or what?

The tournament is fast approaching and I wonder if we should think about honing up our skills. During Richard's absence should we take the plunge and see if we can beg, buy or borrow some basic equipment and start practicing basic skills i.e. throwing/catching/running? Any views on this??

Next introduction session is Monday September 12th at the new time of 6:30pm - hope to see most of you there (especially those playing in the tournament). Vic - good luck trying to get your late night swapped!!

Keep on blogging....


Friday, September 02, 2005

The results are in!

Democracy has worked its magic, and we now have a team name and a team colour! Henceforth (or at least until we think of a better one) we shall be known as The Loan Wolves! Now the endless possibilites for themed slogans, mottos, logos and team songs open up before us. <- Here is an image of a wolf for your delight and consideration. Red was also voted as our offical team colour. So now our entry to the tournament can be sent off and we are on our way to world domination.

I was quite relieved to read on the tournament application form that there are likely to be experienced players there to help us out with base coaching and the like, so it should a good opportunity to improve our skills as well as get our wolvish teeth into the competition.

"Bring me home, May, bring me home!"

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wednesday 31st August 2005

Good news today, when we hear that Richard has got us entered into the tournament, and I think we all owe Ben a huge thank you for stomping up the cash to get us entered. Everyone needs to remember to pay him back their £7.50 as soon as possible - after all it is payday today!

We now have the bare minimum people needed to field a team, but anyone reading this who would like to join us, please let us know, as the more the merrier, and it gives us more room for error.

The debate over the team name rages on. Last week the 'Mini boglins' seemed to be riding high, but enthusiasm seems to have waned slightly and it is still very much an open competition. Some form of vote is on its way soon soon as one of us works out how to use the voting buttons on outlook.

That's about it for today.