Monday, March 31, 2008

Some pre-season revision

A refresher for most of us, but for our newbie players here is some softball vocab...and what it really means:

The Vocabulary

One of the interesting things about the game of softball is the strange things the participants say to each other. Here are some of the common ones and what they actually mean:

Good Eye
One more than either you or the umpire have, otherwise she would have called that a strike.

Wait for your pitch
Yes, you eejit, that WAS a strike. You better hope she throws another one.

Now you've seen it
That was the one you should have hit.

Gotta be good now
If it doesn't bounce before it reaches you, you had better swing

Take the walk if its going
Hope that the pitcher messes up, cause you won't get on base any other way

Good contact
You have managed the not inconsiderable achievement of hitting the ball into the 5% of the available space that has a fielder in it.

Good swing
Good god, the ball is the size of a grapefruit. How can you miss?

Pick your spot
Nothing to do with acne, this is a wish that the ball ends up somewhere useful.

Make her pitch to you
God help us if she can.

The pressure's on her
No reason why this run of good luck with the umpire’s calls can't continue.

Everything else has failed, lets just hope.

One out at a time
What has happened to all our batters. Now let’s see if we can get any of them out.

Feeling Blue

This weekend four intrepid Wolves braved the early mornings, clocks going back and tube engineering works to spend two days learning all about the noble art of softball umpiring. Tucked away in The Hub in the middle of Regents Park, Alison, Julian Matt and myself - along with a few familiar faces from Comer's Homers completed the BASU two day course.

I went on the one day introductory course two years ago but as a rookie at the time most of it went straight over my head. Things seemed to fall into place a little more this time. From judging fair and foul balls to dealing with appeals, from delayed dead balls to the infamous infield fly ball - we covered them all.

The practical drills were really useful and good fun - knowing where to position yourself seems to be half the battle and of course remembering to not only to make the right call but to do it with confidence.

The cold, wind and drizzle hampered our practice a little on the Saturday, but by Sunday afternoon the sun had come out and we all had a proper go at umpiring during a very enjoyable, albeit muddy game to finish off the weekend.

I'm quite keen to give my umpiring skills a bit of a testing out now, and I'd recommend the course for anyone - it's great for learning the rules, understanding plays and meeting new softball pals!