16 March 2006

CBHS: Sport

Students in public school in Australia have PE as part of their curriculum, but Wednesday afternoon is Sport. This means that all students sign up for a winter sport (for terms 1 and 4) and a summer sport (terms 2, 3), and compete in that sport. Some are "school" sports, which means it is recreational, and some are "grade" sport, which means inter-school competition.
Since I found out last December that I would be at CBHS this entire year, I have been lobbying to be the baseball coach. I was told that last year's team was full of big strong Islanders who homered their way to an undefeated season and a premiership (Australian for champs). So I was excited about the possibilities. Well, none of those guys signed up this year--they are all ice skating (seriously). I have a team of Under 14's who have never played the game (OK, one guy has). We had two training sessions before our first game, which barely covered hitting and fielding. Don't stand on the plate, hold the bat up, drop the bat when you run, you have to run when you get a hit, don't stand on the bag when fielding, stuff like that. I had to fight a lot of cricket habits. Our first game, we played a team full of guys who played last year, so they knew what they were doing. My guys accused them of cheating when they stole bases. We lost 10-1. As an American coaching an American game, it was fairly humiliating.
That was three weeks ago. We lost our next two games, but yesterday we played Blackhurst again, the team that beat us 10-1. (There are only three other teams in the league--baseball isn't that big here, but if you caught Australia in the World Baseball Classic, you already knew that.) I wasn't feeling very confident about our season at that point. But the boys have been working hard, and they won the rematch 7-6 for their first win of the season. We batted second, and only had one out in the second (and final) inning. Maybe there's hope yet for the Australian WBC team in twelve years or so.
As I am typing this, I am sipping on a "Green and Gold" Slurpee (another American comfort) in recognition of the Commonwealth Games (that I would be willing to bet you did not know existed) being played at this moment in Melbourne (Australia is beating England in Rugby 7s). The Slurpee kind of tastes like cheap lemon-lime soda gone flat, but I'm showing my support for my favorite Commonwealth nation. Plus, fifteen cents from the sale goes to support Australian athletes, and you can't put a price on that. All right, you can: the Slurpee costs two bucks.

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