Monday, October 08, 2007

Beerball and boat drinks

Yesterday was Beerball, a friendly softball tournament, invitation only. The Loan Wolves were invited for being so friendly - and also, I suspect, 'cos the organising team, our rivals the Devil Strays, were sure we'd lose to everyone. I could only make the first game, vs the Meteors, before I had to go on somewhere. Our squad was augmented by people from the development sessions, along with Ben who'd wanted to play in Beerball again (he and I were there last year, playing for the Tecumsehs). I was at Second, where I made some outs and also committed some fumbles. Borrowed Ben's 26 0z bat and got out at first twice. Changed to a heavier one and did get to base, though only because their pitcher was tiring and I took a walk.
The Meteors started by gaining a lead, but not a decisive one, and we managed to gain runs back while restricting their scoring. The score at "no new innings" was 12-10. to us. All we had to do was keep the game going for another ten minutes, and that result would stand. We couldn't stop them making enough runs to get ahead, but we kept our innings going long enough that time was called and it reverted to that 12-10 scoreline. A win in our first game of the day! Ben's first ever win in a Wolves shirt.
My work was done here. I said goodbye and good luck to the others, then headed off to Uxbridge...
A friend of mine has moved to a narrowboat for the winter. She'd invited people to her boatwarming voyage yesterday, and it was for this that I was leaving the tournament early...
I was texted by both Matt and Ben to tell me that we'd ended up in the third place play-off - against the Strays. Then, as I was on the boat, waiting to go through a lock, came the news that we had beaten them! 23-11, I think. I would dearly have loved to be there for that.
[Taken from my LJ]

Monday, September 03, 2007

Last ball of Summer

The Lastball softball tournament was held yesterday. We played in the afternoon competition, against other Div 5/6 sides. We were a bit short of women players (again), but a hard core of women Wolves were there, along with a couple of extra people dragged along for the day, including one of the Mob who'd played in the morning tournament already.
Five games in a row, no breaks. All batters came to the plate with an assumed 1/1 count already, so the outs came more quickly than usual to speed play up.
We held all our opponents to close games, except for the Raiders Red game, where the umpire's calls favoured their pitcher a little and the game got away from us. We came close to a win vs the Devil Strays, losing in the end by one run. Ben, who was watching that match, had asked if he could join in the cheer if we won - he remembers playing "the old enemy" last season.
We managed one win, and our good fielding kept runs against us down enough for us to end up in fourth place, which was pretty good by our standards.
We played Meteors last, finishing just before the light started to fail. Stepping up to bat for the last time this season, I felt the wind freshen, the temperature drop, and could taste the oncoming rain in the air. That was the very moment Summer ended.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I sent the following email to a few right-wing websites I found on the net (I used a made up name/email) :


Im into softball and I want to start up a team to play in the west midland leagues but I want it to be a proper English team. I think Im going to call the team The Bears or The Wolverines or after some other mighty hunter in the Nordic forests.

Ive got some mates who are up for it but theres not enough of us so Im gonna have to advertise. But i dont' want any forigners. I only want white English men and women. But how do I go about this without getting into trouble from the usual gang? I'd be grateful if you could give me some advice about how to go about forming a proper English team.

Ive got another problem to. I got this mate Gareth and hes the best softball player I know. But the problem is hes a Taff. Would it be OK to let him play even though he was born on the wrong side of Offas Dyke.

That brings me to my next question. Theres some gay teams in the league and dont laugh but theyre very good. It would be bloody embarassing to lose to them. Do you know any boys and girls who are good at softball who could play for us or coach us a bit?

Keep up the good work


I got a couple of replies. Sadly the BNP and UKIP didn't bother. I was going to trawl the web looking for more places to send it to, but I found right-wing sites so weird and dispiriting I soon gave up:

Dear Comrade
Much as would like to help our knowledge of the game is slight so we have little advice to give. Good luck with your project.
14 Words BPP


thank you for your e-mail and for trying to keep England for the English! Try advertising in whiter sections of your area and put emphasis on ENGLISH. May go as far as to say English heritage softball. List your phone # and when you get a call, ask the person what his heritage is....if he is non-white/english then tell him you will call him back and of course never call back. As to letting in a Welsh player join you, I see no problem with that. White is Right. Also, I honestly dont have any English contacts.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Development Sessions (Monday August 13)

Several male Wolves attended the penultimate development session of the season this Monday. Kim and other coaches ran the twenty or so attendees through basic warm ups, throwing/catching techniques, ground ball fielding, and culminating in a four innings match when the teams were split. Close game too with the team featuring Blasey (who scored a booming home run) and Matt emerging victorious by one run. The last session is next Monday and maybe in the absence of any more league games this season, a larger Wolves contingent might turn up - especially as we might have a friendly against the Dev squad in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Low Point/High Point - Superball 2007

Low Point - Not being with the Wolves but Manjiv said if I upset her I'd be kicked out and sure enough it didn't take long. We spotted Manjiv in her orange top easily on arrival. I said that I liked her new hair cut and was misunderstood, it really wasn't a sarcastic comment!

High Point - Hitting a Home Run on two strikes in the first innings of the final with two people on bases. It added to the score and the Devil Strays heads went down for a bit after that. Maybe I should try hitting a home run for the Wolves one day!

I also won this GLSML Champions bottle opener which I'll bring to every game. I'm sure it will mean I get the respect I deserve.... or more likely if it will be useful opening bottles of beer :-)

Superball 2007

Yesterday the Loan Wolves shrugged off defeat in the league and headed out to Barnes Bridge for the Superball 2007 tournament. We had a large contingent of blokes, but were short of women players - only Tigger and Faustina made it. Luckily, Matt's networking among the development squad had recruited five more women for the day.
We were in the 'D' competition, but still outclassed by some of our opposition. Paul had decided to play for the Mob, the eventual winners of the tournament, but the rest of us stayed loyal to the Wolves.
It promised to be a long, hot day. I had packed as much kit as I could comfortably carry - softball gear, food, sunblock and mosquito repellent, folding chair, picnic blanket, food, and a five litre water bottle. Which was empty by the end of our day spent running around in the sun.
Our first game was against the Finsbury Royals. And we aced it, 22-1. After this promising start, we sadly found ourselves unable to get the better of the opposition for the rest of the day. The Mob, a Div 3 side before they dropped out of the league (they're only playing tournaments this year), were tought opponents, though playing them did give us a chance to sledge Paul. We let the Dev Strays post a high score against us, and both Meteors teams also got the better of us. Though we were ahead against Mets 2 till the last inning, when they overturned our lead. For a while it looked as if the "rollback" rule meant that the score at the end of the previous innings stood and we'd won, but on consultation with another umpire, the blue awarded them the win. Only fair, really.
It was a tiring day, and it was good to have a large squad. Everyone got one game off, and we fielded a 6 / 6 line-up with designated extra hitters. Everyone got a share of the action, with varied field placings. I most enjoyed the base-running, and managed to get to base switch-hitting in the last game. Annoyed myself by getting out when I rightly judged that I could dodge a tag so ran, then the fielder threw it to the Third Baseman who got me out as I ran in. Also nearly caught a rocketing line drive at Second, but narrowly missed and got smacked on the shoulder instead. One of several fresh bruises this morning.
we played continually from ten in the morning till after six, with one break for a late lunch. We tucked into our packed lunches and shared snacks. There were sun-dried tomatoes, olives, hummus and wholemeal pitta, and similarly refined treats. I attempted to redress the class balance with my black pudding slices and Mr Kipling cherry bakewells. It was as hot a day as predicted - my wine gums had melted.
The final "play-off" vs the Finsbury (*not* Jersey) Royals again ended in a loss for us, sadly. We then headed to the Ship, where we continued the Wolves' proud tradition of staying in the pub longer than anyone else.
[From my LJ]

Friday, August 10, 2007

Low Point/High Point (Wolves vs Tornadoes)

Low point: a fumble in the outfield during their first innings. Never hitting anything beyond first (besides when I was walked).

High point: got on base and got round every innings. Also threw twice to Paul on 3rd from the outfield for outs.

It was a strangely uneventful experience in the outfield this week. Nothing was really hit out there apart from a couple of screamers.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Loan Wolves 25 - 32 Tornadoes

This was the decider, effectively, for which of the two teams would be relegated. We had mustered support for our big game, with the whole side present, plus David who played for us last year and Olivia's colleague Will. My mate Iain had turned up too, which was really good of him, to watch his first softball match and take some photos. Looking forward to seeing the results of his foray into sports photography, mate. Sorry he didn't get to see a better game, though he did say it had been really exciting.
The opposition started well, but we soon clawed back the lead, and at the end of the fifth innings we were ahead by two. At this point it was getting dark, and we expected light would be called. But it wasn't. And so the last innings began. In increasingly dark and murky conditions, the Tornadoes, largely by looking for walks, made 12 runs. In even darker conditions, we could only make five. By now it was nine o'clock and well and truly dark. So ended our season. We trudged off with our supporters to drown our sorrows.
I think it is mathematically possible that we could still be in a play-off against the Tornadoes, but only if they lose both of their games in hand, one of which is against triBold who've lost every match so far, often by default for not fielding a team.
Still, there are a couple of tournaments to look forward to (first one's on Saturday). Let's see if we can get something out of those.

[X-posted from my LJ]

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The one that got away

write-up of last night's game in my LJ (because I'm too lazy to cut 'n paste).

In other news, I picked up a copy of the Simpsons softball episode on VHS this morning from a charity shop. Anyone not seen it and wants to, let me know and I'll lend it you.

Low Point - High Point for Barracudas versus Wolves

Low Point : Batting into foul ball territory twice to be miserably struck out

High Point. : Getting some strikeouts and making a throw to first plus watching those wonderful catches in the outfield from Gareth and Kevin

Loan Wolves 16 - Barracudas 17

It was a very exciting game last night at Clapham Common. Some excellent batting from our big hitters and heroic catching from Kevin and Gareth. Plenty of enthusiastic support from Ben and his Dad and Matthew and Alex with Peter keeping score. Paul of course was in his element - with his base coaching - a great trooper as usual.

It was a great shame we couldnt quite make the win - really touch and go at the finish. We have come along way since last season.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I make no apologies for this, guys. You were heroic on Wednesday...

The Fight at Finsbury

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Low Point, High Point

Low Point - Worrying about the count too much whilst batting then losing my concentration and my nerve and wildly swinging at pitches so that I struck out.

High Point - Making a great catch to get the batter out and then managing getting another batter out at first despite missing the catch. Somehow I scooped it up and got it to Peter with a scrappy under arm throw... oh and making my highest number of runs of the season!! (I know it's meant to be one high point, but I couldn't choose!)

We rock!! TriBiold 21 - 25 Loan Wolves

We rock! Today was a well deserved victory - and I'm proud of everyone who played, everyone who coached, and everyone who kept us together on the sidelines. Onwards and forwards....or something like that.

Well done Wolves - we certainly do Rock!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday = 12 hours of Softball

As Mr T said... I pity the fools... but yes 3 wolves and one dev girl turned up at Clapham at 11 for a quick practice but before they knew it they were involved with a full on 4 team tournament. After 2 hours of drills and batting practice, Kevin, Matt, Paul and Alana stood in line like school kids waiting to picked by one of the other teams. I was lucky enough to be picked by Super Ben's team and wasn't the last person picked.... Matt? Kevin???

So off we went to play 3 round robin games and Kevin played 3 won 3, Matt played 3 won 1 drew 1 lost 1 and me in glorious wolves fashion played 3 lost 3 !!!! Regardless on how well our teams did (shut it Kevin) we all played 3 great game in teams from higher divisions and had so much fun. We all played well and did the Loan Wolves proud .... especially me by refusing to let good players win a game.

We'll probably be there next week and who knows what will happen?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Low Point, High Point

Low Point: My batting was awful. Out at first, then made it to first but got Andy out.

High Point: Watching Manj drink her first ever tequila slammer.

Loan Wolves 2 - 43 Devil Strays

Sometimes you're the windshield...
... and sometimes you're the bug.
We were sadly unable to repeat last week's glory, coming up against an on-form bunch of Strays in the evening sunshine. we didn't field as well as last week, sadly. I was playing second Base again, and was painfully aware of all the balls that got past me or which I didn't get to quickly enough. I did take two catches though, which was something. The frustration we were all feeling as the match got away from us was exemplified by Peter's "berserker" axe-like swing of his bat at the ball in our last inning.
Pub afterwards, where Matt treated those of us still there after the first round to tequila slammers. From that point, we cheered up a bit.

[X posted from my LJ]

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Low Point, High Point

Low Point: My pitiful attempt at being 3rd base coach. I dried up like a big old dry thing.

High Point: Winning the pitcher-batter duel and so getting a walk that converted into a run!

Raiders Red 11 - 12 Loan Wolves

Having lost to one Raiders team last week, we were away to their other side this.
We emerged from the Tube at Clapham South into a rainstorm, but it dried up before the match started.
We batted first, as away side, and posted four runs before I hit the ball straight to their pitcher to end our inning. Then we fielded, and kept them to one. In the second inning, we made no more runs, while they chipped away at our slender lead. This set the pattern for the game – not many runs scored, with all ours coming in three good innings and theirs consistently in ones, twos and threes throughout the match. The sides were closely matched; both played well, both made good plays, both made a few errors. The Wolves benefited from Julian’s excellent pitching – nerves of steel, striking batters out, all through seven tense innings. We also had some good moments in the field – I think it was the second inning which saw three outs for no runs, all catches, all from different fielders. But then, so did they; we were shut out for four innings, after all.
The scores were levelled at nine all by the top of the seventh, and we knew we were in a ball game. With the home advantage, they would only need to score one more than us to win. We needed to score at least once to have a hope of victory. We made three. Would it be enough? Their last inning began. Soon there were two outs to us, but two runs scored for them. Runners on bases. Nailbiting stuff. It would only take one good hit to get them round. But then, it only needed one more out to end the game. And we made the out.
And so we had a win. For the first time ever, the Loan Wolves had won a competitive game. And it was a good win. The forfeit vs triBold doesn’t count, and the walkathon vs the Tornadoes would have been a hollow victory, but we played for this one, against a side we’d lost to before, and we earned our win. We played well, we played as a team, and we won fair and square. Everyone played their part, which was great. Due to lack of options, many of us were at unfamiliar positions, but we coped. I was at Second Base for the first time in a long while, making outs there and getting a tag on a runner.
After the game ended, we were in a euphoric yet numbed state (possibly helped by the trip to the pub afterwards). It hadn’t really sunk in yet. But by this morning it had. We have won a game. Remember today, little brother - today, life is good.
[X-posted from my LJ]

Washing instructions for the single man

For those hard to remove stains, can I recommend the following:

First turn your shirt inside out
Place in a white cotton pillow case
Use only pure soap flakes ( I suggest Dreft)
Wash on a cool wash
Iron when still damp

Following these steps will ensure that next weeks match we will smartest freshest smelling most victorious team in Div5.

Go Wolves


Monday, July 09, 2007

Northwick Park Softball

I went along to the batting cages at Northwick Park on Saturday.

Though it can't replicate the conditions of a real game, it's pretty good fun. A token of 15 balls pitched from a machine costs £2 (I went for 75 - I was feeling greedy). The pitches vary somewhat; some were knee height, some nearer the shoulder, which you'd leave normally (unless you're me), but required an overhead smash to get away. Because there's meshing all around the cages, sometimes it's hard to tell how well you've hit it, unless it goes quite flat and far. Also, they're quite pedantic about helmets, even if you're playing slow pitch's really not in their interests for you to get injured though.

It's quite a trek to get to but worth it, I feel, if you need batting practice between games.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Low Point - High Point

Low Point - Not keeping my eye on the ball enough:
Missing a high catch when I was in the outfield and mis-fielding a ground ball when I was on 2nd. Instead of landing in my glove, it bounced off my toe and veered off into the outfield. Ooops, sorry guys.

High Point - Patience is a virtue:
Holding my nerve and keeping my patience for two walks.
My second one came when I had got to full count, but I had been watching him with his fancy "wrist curling round his back" technique and noticing that he had been getting a lot of balls so I went for it, watched the ball as closely as I could, and put all the pressure on him.
It took nerve as the umpire was calling balls and strikes slightly erractically at times. Both the pitcher and I were convinced that I had been pitched a strike at one point but it was called a ball.
I know that not everyone is convinced by the "leave the first pitch" idea, but I personally think that it works, especially the first time you go up, as it gives you the chance to see how the pitches are coming and how the umpire is calling them. Plus, my batting isn't the strongest so I need all the extra edge that I can get!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


After last week's rain-sodden match in which our score sheet became pretty soggy and smudged, we'd thought ahead. We had laminated score sheets, with permanent markers. As Richard said, we are the geekiest team in the league. And we proceeded to get laminated - in the sense of squashed flat, smothered, and put through a heated mangle.
It wasn't that we played badly. It wasn't our finest performance ever, but RB are leading the division and it shows. They just outclassed us in batting. And fielding. And pitching. and base running. Apart from these few areas, we were actually quite close to them in skill level.
I faced my first pitch right-handed, then stepped across to the other batter's box and shifted to my left hand. cue minor agitiation from the opposition; "he's a switch-hitter!". Sadly, your classic switch-hitter is as deadly batting left-handed as right. Whereas I'm just not that much worse with my left... I gave them an easy out at first. Next time up, I was on a full count and lost the head-game with their pitcher - "will he pitch a strike now, knowing that if I leave it I'm out? Or a ball, 'cos he thinks I'll swing at anything? But he knows I'd know that...". Struck out.
Some great moments from us - Julian struck out two of their people, and there was some great fielding - at one point Gareth heroically flung himself at a ball, risking life, limb and finger, rolling over and emerging with it as a catch.
We retired to the social club, where my Doctor Who earworm was cleared by hearing the Raiders women singing along to 'Jolene'. Bring back the Scissor Sisters...

[X posted from my LJ]

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blasey's match report....

Thanks Matt for the peppy email... you aren't a touch on Manjiv but it put a
smile on my face this morning. Some how there is a fault on my broadband
so I have no internet at home till the weekend....

Mavy says that she enjoyed the game and she too has a bruised ankle but
failed to pull off a sicky.

I know I should blog but here's my highlights and lowlights of yesterday...

Vic to Alsion to get an out at 1st
Gareth and Andy's out at 3rd
Julian's first time pitching this year
Alex almost being knocked out by a Paul fly-ball coming off the tree as he
cycled in late
Pete's slip at first but valiant attempt to catch the ball whilst on his
Faustina batting in Kevin
Kev's casual catch off the first delivery of their innings
Gareth slipping over but still getting the ball to Kevin
My slide to second to prevent the girl throwing Alsion out.
Paul unable to pitch to their girls.
The confusion caused by having 11 players in the line-up (including 2 guys
in a row)
Olivia trying to score using a soaked sheet or paper and a BIONIC finger.
Matt, Alex, Julian, Paul and Kev's confusion when we changed everything in
one go.
The Kev, me and Paul attempt to get an out at home plate.
Val looking like a drowned rat but there and playing well as catcher.
Mavy and Faustina in the outfield stopping ground balls.
Watching Paul slide as he tried to pitch in the mud.

Missing Tiggs and's not the same without you.
The Rain
The long walk back to my car because we went to the other pub.
The Rain
So many illigal, too high and too low balls
Gareth's frustration in the outfield when we mucked it up
My underarm pass to Pete
My handing, not throwing, the ball to Alison.
When we make simple errors
When we aren't as tuned in on what is actually happening.
The umpire calling some questionable decisions on Vic.
That girl catching Gareth in the outfield when the bases were loaded and we
had 2 outs.
Not being able to move off 1st due to the mud.

Please can everyone let Manjiv know today or tomorrow if you can, can not or
might not be able to play on Wednesday as we are at home to Raiders Blue and
it's payback time.

One last thing....
Thanks guys. It might have rained, we might have been wet, we might have
been able to play better but it was still FUN.....

Lets get ready for 11th August when we will beat them all in the tournament.
Keep that date free.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Seriously considering dressing up as a woman

I think the above may be the only way to get some match play in this team, and being 100% gay it wouldnt be too traumatic for me anyway

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Only PG - is that the best we can do?

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Softballing in the movies

This Saturday night I sat down (with low expectations, it has to be said) to watch "Employee of the Month".

My expectations were not exceeded - harmless film, but just NOT VERY FUNNY!

However, towards the climax of the nail biting, edge-of-your-seat plot, there is a softball game - and what is more it is co-ed slow pitch!

Here is a short clip from the film - it's bad quality and out of sync... but you get the idea.

Huddle huddle huddle.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Snatching fun from the jaws of victory

So the wolves are 21-0 up. There's 2 out and the bases are empty. One out and the Wolves mercy a team!!! But no, somehow the killer instinct and desire for a crushing victory desert us and we become good sports.

Obviously after a good 3.666 innings my pitching went astray and apologies, I'm as baffled as anyone why? (Everyone should have a go at pitching to see exactly how small that pesky strike zone is!) The Tornadoes were quite happy with their one home run when 21-0 down but somehow that got them going and they enjoyed the comeback of the season.

I think the Wolves batted superbly. And the double play in the last innings to catch the ball and get the "winning run" out at 3rd was most excellent. We lack that killer instinct and the desire to take as many walks as we can, but that's cause we want to have fun and play softball...

well done everyone!!

p.s I forgot the other excellent double play from Kevin's catch in the outfield and an out on first... awesome!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What a terrible game L. Wolves versus Barracudas

I feel so guilty about this evening's game I can only say I wasnt in the zone. Matt or Alex would have made a much better job of catcher. I could hear the shouts telling me to get on 4th base but tried for throwing to 1st and hit that poor girl in the back

I will have to go along to some Development sessions for improvement

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Picking up strangers in the park...

[From my LJ]

Russell Investment Group v Loan Wolves

Russell Investment Group do not play in our division. Or even our league. So, how did we come to be playing them?
Well, there's this team called triBold... [snipped text explaining the sorry saga of yesterday's "postponed" game]
Anyway, we were up for playing last night. triBold had booked a pitch, and it seemed a shame to waste it. so we turned up in Regents Park this evening. Where we met the aforementioned Russell Investment Group team, who it turns out had also been stood up by their scheduled opponents, in a banking league. So we got the beers in and had a friendly with our new friends.
It was a really good match. We turned out to be pretty closely matched, and we had a great time playing on a well-kept field in the evening sunshine. Lions (we think they were lions) were roaring in London Zoo nearby, and long shadows fell over the pitch as the game went on. Atmosphere was good, and we had fun - both sides probably played better knowing that nothing depended on the result. We weren't really keeping score properly, but after a 1-1 first inning the Wolves broke away then had our lead clawed back in one inning due to a second-out rally (which was aided by Paul's sportsmanlike gesture in refusing to accept their third Out), finally going into the last inning a few runs up. The final result was somewhat uncertain, but definitely close. I made the last play of the game with an out at Home.
Afterwards, we joined a few of their team for a couple of drinks at the Edinboro Castle. An all-round successful and convivial evening.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Final hand-in of the year on Thursday. So the library was busy all day, until the deadline, after which it was dead quiet.
I was working till the deadline at six to provide extra cover. Actually there till about a quarter past. Then I had to leave and rush over to Regent's Park to umpire a softball match.
I was delayed by Tube hell, and arrived to find Tigger and the two teams waiting expectantly for me. No pressure, then.
It was easier than the first time - posssibly because I'd just come from a library full of stressed-out law students, so twenty keyed-up softball players seemed much less frightening. I still made errors as plate umpire, and wrong calls, but the teams accepted them and the match played out (it was decided by one run, in the very last inning), and we left the field without being lynched by the losing side. I managed to project a confident demeanour, according to Tigger. She did sterling work as base umpire.
Wolves met for drinks last night at the Cittie of Yorke. Paul's back from his travels.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I was hoping for a more mental reply than the one I got, but Silvia's surname made me laugh:

From: AOSHUK [] Sent: 24 May 2007 20:34To: Waller, MatthewSubject: RE: Scientology Question

Dear Matthew,
Hi, my name is Silvia. I am writting in response to your e-mail you sent a few days ago.
You are absolutely right, Scientology can most definitly help on the things you mentioned about your team so you can really take off!
First of all I need to know where you are based so we can work out what would be the easiest for you to find out how Scientology can help.
Please contact me on 0800 587 5277 to arrange so.
All the best,

Silvia Fani

Saint Hill Foundation
Saint Hill Road, East Grinstead,
West Sussex, RH194JY

-----Original Message-----From: Waller, Matthew []Sent: 22 May 2007 11:57To: aoshuk@scientology.netSubject: Scientology Question
I play for a softball team and I wondered if Scientology could benefit us both individually and collectively.
In competitive matches there are always one or two innings when doubts set in, we lose focus and undo all the good work we’ve achieved in the game so far. What we really need is consistency.
Some of my team are thinking of turning to sports psychologists and self-help manuals, but I thought that Scientology may provide better answers. After all, you’ve helped Tom Cruise become a major star despite his diminutive stature, and pulled John Travolta out of troughs (Look Who’s Talking, Look Who’s Talking Too and Look Who’s Talking Now spring to mind) that threatened to destroy his career. Perhaps Scientology could stop the troughs in my team’s games.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes

Smug bastards

Discovered this linked to the results on the league site:

The entire Devil Strays squad showed up to take part in the first win of the season, a comprehensive victory against the Loan Wolves on May 21st.The sky over Finsbury Park may have been grey, but the Strays’ mood was sunny and team spirit was high, with seventeen keen players present and hungry for victory.The Strays got off to a fantastic first innings, keeping the Wolves down to one run while scoring 12 runs themselves. The batting highlights, to list but a few, included a zinger to centre right by Jen, a shell-it-outta-the park smasher by Dan and a disrespectfully cheeky infield hit by Kim.After this imposing start, the Wolves were unable to get back into the game, being shut out in the next innings by staunch Strays defending, with outstanding performances from outfielder Mike, shortstop Dan and first basewoman Rebecca, not to mention fantastic pitching from Seth, who struck out several anguished Wolves. Sharon made a crucial catch at home plate to stop the runner on third scoring and Paul made an instinctive and impressive catch at second base.The Wolves only managed to score a further four runs during the game, while the Strays scored another eight to make the final score 20-5. All the official Strays present played at some point during the game and each and every one of them made a positive contribution to the final result. Paul and Dan were joint MVP winners for their outstanding performances on the field.

Written by Devil Strays captain F Herdman-Smith, 24th May 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Low: My hitting.

High: Obstructing their first-baser.

Devil Strays 20 - 5 Loan Wolves

We played our traditional rivals last night. Scheduled on Monday so as not to clash with the football tonight.
Went into the game with captain Michael just back from a knee operation, and needing a runner. Also, Matt's hand is still stitched from cutting it open on a smashed rice jar. And Olivia has her broken finger splinted up, so she was scoring rather than playing.
The Strays have acquired some good new players to replace their losses, but then so have we. Sadly, this game went their way.
We had a poor first inning, in the course of which I tangled with Kevin running for a catch, and twisted my ankle. After that we got a lot sharper, but still couldn't pull the lead back.
Tigger was hit repeatedly by thrown balls. she also pitched to a guy who shot a rocket-like line drive towards her head. she almost caught it, but it smacked into her pitching hand instead of her glove. She still gritted her teeth and pitched the game out though.
Gareth pulled a quadricep running. Dunno how many other people took minor knocks, but after the game Michael looked around us and asked; "is there anyone here who isn't injured?".
We limped off to the pub for a healing beer or two.

[X posted to my LJ]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

high point - low point of last night's game?

In my case, high point was that dodge past the tag out.
Low point was then getting out for not tagging up.

Loan Wolves 10 - 23 Raiders Red

This week’s game was against Raiders Red. They’re a big club, with three teams, two of which are in our division. This time we were playing Little Billy Goat Gruff.
Rain and drizzle had restored Finsbury Park to its usual state of muddiness. We were short of spare players, but managed to field a full team and thankfully didn’t need to make any substitutions. I was catching, so spent much of the match squelching around in the afore-mentioned mud. Also called a few plays.
The Raiders didn’t make life easy for our pitchers, looking for walks rather than chances to swing. A strong first inning for them gave them a lead we couldn’t overhaul, but our performance with bat and in the field was highly creditable. Plenty of runs, two innings in which the opposition failed to trouble the scorers, and some fine individual performances. Alison’s fielding on third, and Kevin’s diving catch stood out for me, along with Mavy at bat ducking under an errant pitch. Some fine batting and base-running from everyone. I took part in the double play that never was – batter hit the ball short, pitcher Tigger got to the ball, threw it straight to Peter on First who made the out then threw it lightning fast straight to my glove, I pivoted, tagged the runner out coming into Home. However, as the out on First had been the third of the inning anyway, our stunning teamwork was irrelevant.
I took the team’s first walk of the season (which gives an idea of how sharp the pitching we’ve been facing has been), and got a real kick from base-running. At one point I dodged a tag-out between Second and Third, then dived headlong (into that mud again) to reach base safely.
Duncan DS was umpiring, and I’ve never heard a more talkative blue. Running commentary on every pitch, every play. We play the Strays next week.
After the game, we retired to the pub in the hope we could catch the West Br*m – Wolves match. Sadly, there was some unimportant European game on, with three Spanish blokes watching, and the bar staff wouldn’t change channels for us. Maybe it was as well to be spared the sight of my side losing, but it would have been nice to watch the game with all the Wolves cheering for their namesakes.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Vic's moonlighting for another team...

This week I will mainly be spending my evenings in a dark, hot, stuffy theatre helping Geiods put on their musical 'Calamity Jane'. Geiods are a musical theatre group, well that's a sort of team. Fortunately for the Wolves, these shows only come around twice a year, once in May, once at Christmas, and fortunately for me too: it's exhausting rigging up a theatre!

I spent most of Sunday lugging heavy lights up and down staircases and playing with lighting desks and walkie-talkies... that is until the batteries died on walkie talkies and we had to resort to shouting.

I was a proper 'techie' armed with electrical tape, string and an adjustable spanner. This piece of kit was essential as I'm such a girl that I couldn't unscrew the light clamps without resorting to using the spanner. They are screwed tight for obvious reasons... they are big and heavy and high up and would certainly give someone a good clonk on the head if they fell.

The lighting desk was particularly exciting to have a go with as no one knew how to drive it. The instruction book ran to about 50 pages and once we did finally manage to save a light setting, we couldn't work out how to make come back on cue. I had never even seen a lighting desk until yesterday and so it was slightly alarming when it kept beeping at us. It was quite fun playing with all the buttons and sliders though. I'm usually only allowed to point spot lights and carry chairs on to the stage!

So I won't be able to join you for the game this week, but I will be thinking of you and I sing along to the show and point my lights.

High Point - eating many sweets and biscuits and finally getting the lighting desk to do something that we wanted it to do.

Low point - having my foot run over by a stage block (it's OK, I survived) and nearly dropping a big light off the balcony.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Loan Wolf Blues

Our first compulsory umpiring duty.
Richard and I were the umpires (or “blues”). I was to be plate umpire – the guy who calls balls and strikes. Our teams were Meteors 3 (you may remember them from last week) and the Barracudas (those with long memories may remember them from last Summer).
On my way to the match, I did what I’d done before the first University Challenge match – I took a moment for myself, to be well and truly terrified, and thus got it all out of the way. Well, mostly.
We began with the traditional talk with the captains, during which we defined ground rules (this became important later) and freely acknowledged that this was our first time umpiring (subtext: “please be gentle with us”). I’d forgotten to bring my clicker, but Kevin of Meteors 3 always has a spare, so I borrowed that. Didn’t show any favouritism for it, though.
The cliché is that you just have to be confident, and “call them as you see them”. To an extent this is true. I know I screwed up call after call, and that we must have missed some of the plays. But still, there was a huge store of goodwill, tolerance and understanding from even seasoned players towards their newbie blues.
But still – it was a bit scary. I realised that the blues don’t get the break that players do every half inning. They have to stand there. Alert and ready to make call after call after call. By the end I was praying for either the pitcher to fling the ball short into the mud or the batter to tonk it cleanly to the outfield so I wouldn’t have to make a close call. I also found myself reducing it to the pure mechanics, ignoring the personalities, the teams, the state of the game.
Richard was a great co-umpire. He looked the part making his calls in the outfield, and wants to have a crack at the plate next time.
In the end, Meteors were ahead and due to bat at the bottom of the fifth when bad light and appalling wet conditions made it wise to call the game. So I shouted “ballgame!”, and that was that.
My best call was probably when a ball hit the old clubhouse – thanks to defining ground rules, I knew that unless the ball ended up in the house it was still live, and called it accordingly.
Afterwards I had a beer with Richard, my fellow umpire, and Duncan Devil Stray. He’d turned up to watch us umpire and lend moral support – and also to pick up hints as to how we were going to umpire the Dev Strays’ game next week of course, competitive so-and-so that he is. He was full of praise – said we’d done a “storming” job. So he can’t complain if we call him struck out next game then, right?
I made some woeful calls, but at least they were consistently woeful. And the sides accepted the result without protest, and that’s the main thing. My only worry now is that “be gentle with us – this is only our second game” may not wash as well…

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mascot enquiry

Personally I find stuffed animals rather sinister and seedy...

From: Robert Sinclair [] Sent: 09 May 2007 16:04To: Waller, MatthewSubject: Re: Wolf Inquiry

Wolves cost £9500 plus VAT each. We can prepare one in any position. Robert Sinclair Get Stuffed

----- Original Message -----
From: Waller, Matthew
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 10:30 AM
Subject: Wolf Inquiry

I play for a softball team called the Loan Wolves and we’ve been looking for a mascot for some time. Whilst walking past your wonderful shop I noticed two particularly fearsome and impressive examples of canis lupus. May I inquire if they’re for sale, and if so how much you would want for them?

All the animals you have on display are mounted in extremely realistic poses. Would it be possible to mount a wolf in a classic softball stance – on its hind-legs, wielding a bat, just about to strike a home run?

If this is indeed possible, could you provide a similar service for other animals? What price a cricket playing hippopotamus?

I look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes
Matthew Waller

Raiders Blue 21 - 6 Loan Wolves

Weather has taken a turn for the worse this week – must be the influence of the Bank holiday. Despite cold and cloud, we were spared rain. Though one unnamed Wolf didget startled by “lightning” which turned out to be the flash from Manjiv’s camera.
We had a big squad with all female Wolves except Olivia, and eight of our male players, present.
Game started quite well, and we were definitely in contact until the bottom of the fifth, where eight runs gave the team from the 83-strong Raiders club a significant lead. Some great fielding, and good batting – including what must be the most home runs for the Wolves in a single game (three). A nasty collision between Matt and the Raiders’ catcher ended up with her missing the rest of the game (and therefore an automatic out on her turn at bat). This event did probably help us stay in contention, but our performance was still commendable overall.
My only contribution to our performance was to correct the opposition’s scorer when she added 13+4+4 and made 23. At least the agreed total is an accurate reflection of another loss with honour for the Loan Wolves. I managed to get cracked in the shin during throwing and catching warm-up, and narrowly avoided getting beaned by a pop-up foul ball which seemed to be actively tracking me, like a small round guided missile, as I tried to get out of its way.
Not the best scoreline ever, but still respectable.
Tonight Richard and I have the dubious honour of being the first Loan Wolves to officially umpire a match. Wish us luck.

[X-posted from my Livejournal ]

Pics from Game 2 (Loan Wolves vs London Raiders Blue)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

LSF Single sex tournament

On Sunday - I replaced my favourite orange t-shirt for a red one as I became a Vixen for the day. The Vixens made up the fifth team in the LSF single sex tournament which took place in Barn Elms Sports Centre (the same venue as the In2Touch tournament we took part in way back in April 2006).
The Vixens are a team formed of girls from different teams within the various divisions in the League...and needless to say, I found myself surrounded by players who were a lot more skilled and experience than I was.
The ball used in single sex games is slightly smaller than the regular softballs used for Co-ed. This actually makes it possible to bat the ball further...
The only low point of the whole day was playing in a team with players who all knew each other and being the only Loan (Lone) Wolf. However, it was a good experience overall, got some good pitching tips and a couple more tournaments should hopefully make some sort of difference to my softball ability :-)
A full write up of the day is available on the BSUK website

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Loan Wolves 3 - 30 Meteors Three

First game of the season last night. We were all keyed up for it, I think. I felt quite proud to be part of our team as I changed into the old black and orange after work.
Lovely sunny evening, not too hot. We assembled at Finsbury Park and got down to some practice ahead of the match. Ben turned up to support us, which was nice of him. He soon ended up running a beginners' clinic for our newest players. See, we even lay on higher-division coaches for our team!
Meteors 3 are from a big club, with experienced players to support their newer people. The fact that they can field three teams is a bit of a clue. They had train whistles and rattles, which seemed a bit unnecessary.
The blues (umpires) were umpiring their first game. That'll be Richard and me next week, as we now have to fulfil umpiring duties like the other established teams.
We gave away a few runs in the first two innings, but tightened up a lot towards the end of the game. Sadly, we couldn't overhaul the Meteors' lead. We did some good fielding and pitching though, and for the first time ever we made an appeal against a rules infraction (due to confusing themselves by subbing in so many players from their huge squad, the opposition put two male batters in a row).
I was Catcher, in which position I managed to find the only pebble on the entire field - by kneeling on it. Mercifully, though, that was as serious an injury as any of us received.
Good performances all round, including debuts from new Wolves Faustina, Matt, Valerie and Kevin. Good debut by co-captains Tigger and Michael, also.
We retired to the Finsbury afterwards, and talked (mostly) softball till chucking out time.
Due to not conceding as many runs as some, we aren't bottom of the division, at least. And it's good to know that we've lost none of our enthusiasm for the game and the team. Darren came for a word in the pub (his Div 1 side had been playing), and when Tigger asked if he was surprised that we were back for another season he said; "No. I figured you guys would still be together".

Team Photo May '07

my first softball game

i played my first softball game last night and it was very exciting and the rest of my team were all very friendly and very good players and when i was fielding i stopped the ball quite well but i dropped some catches and that made me sad but i moved to catcher and i got someone out and that made me happy and there was a bossy spanish girl on the other team and she had on very tight shorts that made me feel funny inside and when i batted i always hit the ball but i got confused and got out at second base two times but the third time i listened to blasey and got all the way round and that was good and then all the loan wolves went to the pub and i drank some stuff that was thick like milkshake but black and bitter and it made my head feel funny and for the game next week i think i should work on my catching and my punctuation

1st of the season - Low Point, High Point

Low Point - Fumbling some catches and missing some outs on 2nd as a result.

High Point - hitting the ball and making it to first base each time I was up! Hooray. There is hope for my batting skills yet.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Go Wolves Go!

The final practice before the start of the season and the weather smiled on us. It was a beautiful morning, sunny with a light, cool breeze, and we worked our socks off. Michael led the session and got us running, throwing and batting. It was a good session and everyone was pleased to see how people had improved over the winter. It was however completely exhausting so we had to retire to the pub for a cold coke afterwards. Please note, it was coke, not beer! Welcome to Valerie who came to her first ever practice.

Message to the team from Michael - we need a chant. Something to psych us up. I suggested Go Wolves Go! Michael suggested 1-2-3 Wolves. What's your suggestion? Get posting!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A new season.....

Less than a week until our new season begins. Let's kickstart this on the right note.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on what you hope to achieve this season....on a team or individual level...

Co-Cap'n Blue Tiggs

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Spring training

Really thoroughly enjoyed yesterday evening's training session. Six Wolves, one bat, and "a whole ball full of bags" as Manjiv put it.
Throwing and catching drills, batting and fielding practice, and a bit of running around. Followed by a couple of beers.
Just the thing on a lovely Spring evening.
Really whetted our softball appetite for the new season.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wolf meme continued...

I scored as a yellow wolf...

'Kay, you need to calm down, and lay off the crack. Slow down and take a breath. No more sugar for you.....

Wolf meme

You scored as brown wolf. You're a brown wolf. You're very self confident and you love to play. You're very deep into philosophy and you love to know what's going on at all time. Keep on the look out for potential fun, it will find you!

brown wolf


Black wolf


white wolf


Silver wolf


yellow wolf


red wolf


Grey wolf


Blue wolf


what color wolf are you?
created with

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Yesterday morning was softball practice. Joint practice for Loan Wolves and Devil Strays. Finsbury Park far less muddy than I've seen it, but it was a pretty cold day. We did some infield practice - throwing the ball round the bases before the batter could run all the way round. When it was my turn to bat and run, I found that it's quite a long way round in one go for an overweight man with a hangover.
Then a practice game, with mixed Wolf-Stray teams. I tried batting with a 26 oz bat, and did woefully, so changed back to my trusty 30 oz club. Got to base a few times, got round, and did call and execute an inning-ending double-play, earning a high-five from Duncan Devil Stray. Sadly, though, it was Julian who I got out there, not a Devil Stray...
Faustina and Matt, new Wolves, enjoyed the practice and game I think. And the pub afterwards.
We went to the Faltering Fullback - we sank a few beers, chatted about softball and all sorts of other stuff, and watched the Ireland-Wales match. One of Matthew's friends turned up, having been at the new Wembley for the Under-21 friendly. We asked him for his impression of the new stadium. "Big", he said.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Umpire Course March 17-18 - Regents Park and Clapham

Had a very interesting weekend with Mike Jennings and Spencer our two excellent trainers.

The rules are as we know pretty complex - certainly the detailed knowledge that is required to become an umpire. Spencer has a rule book by his bed at night.

I took a lot of notes on a whole range of matters relating to the different calls made by the umpire, the Infield Fly rule, illegal bats, coaches and substitutes, removed and ejected players, The Run Ahead Rule ( another and better name for the Mercy Rule) etc. etc.

We are using the ISF rules ( International Softball Federation) for everything except which bats or balls are acceptable for which the ASA ( Amateur Softball Association) rules are used.

We did a drill up at Regents Park - practising being the Plate umpire. ie calling strikes, balls, illegals etc. Quite difficult reacting quickly and making the fine judgements.

On Sunday as there were only 5 of us we adjourned to Clapham to join up with some of the Raiders who were doing umpiring training as well. We did some drill on watching the batter-runner going to 1st and then making the call - Out or Safe. Also we practised doing some calls on whether a ball was in Fair or Foul territory.

At the end we concentrated on the coordination between the two umpires when they are both used. That is the Plate Umpire and the Field Umpire. Did an elaborate drill base on this coordination and how it is achieved

Those who participated on the course are being sent an email exam to complete

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Back in the mud!

Yesterday morning I went over to Clapham South for first softball session of the year. Ah, the familiar squelch of cold wet mud on a winter's morning, how I have missed thee! On the way over, I'm afraid I alarmed a little old lady. I sat next to her on the bus, and she saw the baseball hat I was wearing, and my bat handle sticking out of my sports bag, and I could see her thinking; "oh no! This must be one of them ASBO hoodies the Daily Mail's always warning us about!".
Only four of us there, including new player Faustina. We ran an impromptu "softball skills: 101" session for her, which went well. She has a flair for batting, which is a good thing, and seemed keen to learn about the game. The batting tee Ben gave us as a parting gift proved to be a useful bit of training kit. We all went for a beer at the George afterwards, and I attempted to explain some of the rules to Faustina using a diamond laid out on the table, with coins for players.
[X-posted from my LJ]

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Yesterday, a small, select group of Wolves met after work for beers and a natter at the Cittie of Yorke. Their cellar bar is a good place for such gatherings. We chatted about work, softball (of course), and crosswords and sudoku, among other random subjects. We looked forward to the new season.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Loan Wolves Pre Season Social

Here are some photos from last Friday's Loan Wolves social get together, in the Cittie of Yorke pub, near Chancery Lane. It was great to see the team again for the first time since my 'move', and meet your new player Faustina (who it turns out worked at Whitechapel library reception at the same time I did- I thought her face looked familiar) I aim to keep up my duties as a Wolves social member this year, and hope to catch up with you all sometime soon (it was nice to bump into Andy and Julian again at the GLSML AGM on Wednesday night) Softball in London. It's such a small world.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wolves, and sporting rivalry

Just to put any little rivalries we have, or think we have, with the Devil Strays, Barracudas or that Div 4 outfit who poached Ben from us, into a proper perspective:
A different Wolves are playing West Br*m tomorrow.

Monday, January 15, 2007

First practice of 2007

Once again it was a muddy start to the 2007 training schedule, although at least the rain held off. We had quite a good turnout for practice...Tiggs, Jules, Paul, Alex, Foxy, Fordo, and our newest recruit - Faustina. Can we all please shout out a warm welcome to Faustina?

Sadly the Wolves were outnumbered by the Strays, but I think we went quite a way in building up the Strays/Wolves relationship by mixing up the teams during the game. Luckily we'll have some valuable training assistance from the Strays in future sessions.

Paul also said farewell on Saturday, getting in one last softball practice before taking off to swim with the piranhas and save the turtles in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. His gob will be greatly missed until he gets back in two months ;-)

Nothing to do now, except wait for the next training session which takes place on January 27th....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

SuperBen flys away

Dear Wolves,

After much consideration, I have decided to leave the team (as a player) and have accepted a place with the Kamikazes (a team I played in a tournament in 2006) as a player and their coach/training session organiser. After really enjoying playing in a variety of tournaments over the summer and in the indoor league this winter, I want to see if I can survive playing in what should be a pretty tough Division 4 this season.

I want to thank everyone for making last year such an enjoyable first year in the sport for me, both on and off the field. I feel proud to have been a little part of Loan Wolves history, as captain and All Star. We had some great matches together as a team, the one away to the Tornadoes and the home match to London Raiders come to mind, where we were so close to claiming all three points.

As I count many of you as friends, and thus would hope to stay in contact as much as possible, I want to put my application in for being the Loan Wolves second 'Social Member' (after Karen). Also, Kamikazes fixtures permitting, my Dad and I will definitely come along and see some of your matches this season as a supporters ( we will be the one's wearing orange).

Finally, I wish the team all the best for the future, and hope that you all get the elusive first ever win (apart from the 2nd Dingos vs Caribou game) that you so deserve next year. When you do, make sure that you collect Devil Stray Duncan's kind offer of a round of drinks for the team :-)

(Super) Ben

PS Finally, I have got the team something as a sort of leaving gift, to hopefully assist with your spring training programme and help you to progress on the field (by practicing off it). Fingers crossed you should have it by the end of the week. Keep your eyes open Cooler King!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Good news!

BSUK have cleared last year's league table results from our page.
We have a clean sheet ready for the new season.