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