Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Softball woes

Here in Rabat, there is a softball league made up of mostly embassies and social groups. Last year, I was the coach of the Hash team. Hashers being people who gather each Saturday to go for a long run and drink beer, not necessarily in that order.

The softball team was a nightmare. Firstly, there was one player set on dominating things, let's call her Mary. Mary's thought she was very talented, when she has about as much talent as a pilon. She whined about not playing enough, when other players played the whole game. "Blah, blah, blah, Ive been part of this team for five years, waah, waah, waah."
In a team meeting after a practice, she brought up the fact that I played the best players more than the crap ones. To which I said, "I make sure everyone plays, usually at least half a game, that's the best I can do."
The conversation deteriorated from there. Another player brought up an extremely unsportsmanlike thing she had done the season before. (Throwing a tantrum and refuing to play when she didn't get the position she wanted.)
After being confronted with the fact we thought she was a bitch, she huffed and asked me who was better, her, or a twelve year old girl on the team. When I said the twelve year old girl was better, she threw another tantrum and quit the team.
After the meeting, she went around backbiting and turning other players against me. In particular the players who couldn't speak English therefore didn't understand the conversation.

The second problem, stemming from the first. We had a mix of great players, average ones and awful ones. Most of the average and terrible players were unreliable and I never knew when they were going to show up.
At the start of the season, I didn't even know if enough people would show up. The good players did, we pulled a team together and when we won a couple games, the crap players started showing up from out of the woodwork, wanting to be part of the team.
Now, instead of fretting about having a team, I had a list of fifteen to eighteen people who wanted to play each week. There are important positions and unimportant positions on the field, and as we only had a few really strong players, I tried to keep them in the important positions.
I also tried to make sure everyone played at least half a game. So I juggled the crap players in and out of the line up.
We began losing. And when you lose, it's suddenly the coaches fault. The good players resent the crap players. The crap players figure if we're going to lose anyway, they should be playing as much as the good players. So nobody's happy.
The season finishes, I quit! I'd had it with coaching, good riddance Hash team.
"I'm playing rugby on Sundays now," I said. "In fact, I never should have stopped playing rugby, I don't even like softball."

Because I quit, one of my best buddies, Roelof, who also plays rugby, he quits the softball team too. Along with his son and daughter. So four of us, three of which are really good players, have left. A fourth good player, Matt, was recruited by me in the first place, so he quits by default because nobody knows how to contact him.

A week after quitting, another friend, Luke, asks Roelof about the upcoming season. We're at a wedding and I'm sipping a beer when they come up and tap me on the shoulder.
"We want to start another team, the Rebels."

So I start doing the math. We have half a team already. I can probably recruit another couple. That makes five strong players and two decent ones. Next thing I know, a few students of the Fulbright program sign up and we have a team.

Tantrum woman takes over the Hash, which is now devoid of any talent. Not to mention another three or four players quitting because they refuse to play on a team coached by her. She says she has enough people to form a team. I know it's not nice, but I'm a vengful git, and I look forward to stomping the hash team, especially because she's coaching it. That's if they still have a team.

Our first practice is this Sunday.

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