Thursday, September 15, 2011

Out to the Ball Game

So we won our softball game last night and it was quite the upset. The high school teachers played the middle school and elementary school teachers team (who brought in outside players). In the elementary and junior high, there are a lot of female teachers and not many of them are willing to play softball it seems. Or from what I can tell because few of them have played in last year's season and this season. The entire league is in good fun though. We all had to line up while some guy gave a speech and the trophies were set on the tables. The trophies are pure photo op material. No one actually gets to keep them. A picture is taken for the Ojika newspaper and then it is put back in its box and stowed on the office shelf at the public gym until the next round of games.

I played first. After one pitcher tried to pitch and failed, I tried and failed. I just can`t pitch slow pitch from men`s distance. It just isn`t going to work. So finally, on our third try, it turned out that the biology teacher was the best pitcher. The other team was beating us pretty bad but in the last inning, the bases were loaded and my fellow English teacher hit a homerun to win the game. It was quite an exciting ending to a night of unimpressive dropping of balls, walking batters and general awkwardness. Our teams aren`t super competitive from the schools but it`s when you start playing teams with t-shirts they had made, that`s when you get into the people who take it a little too seriously.

Right before we had to play, everyone was practicing throwing and warming up. The biology teacher told me to play catch and so I started to play catch with the gym teacher. I don`t think he was expecting me to have an arm so he wasn`t really prepared to catch my first ball. No, I don't throw like a girl, buddy. Softball is very much a man`s sport in Japan so they are a little surprised to have a woman on the island who knows how to play and did so for about 12 years. The men are fun to watch though. I watched the game before ours and it seemed like after every time the defense got three outs and came in to bat, half of the players reached for their cigarettes and lit one up. Must be really stressful out there.

In other news, I am going to be returning to nossa terra gloriosa in December. That`s right. Mozambique. I have been talking to a student through email and I am raring to go. I am extremely excited to see my students and how they have grown up. When I have talked to a couple of them on the phone, it`s startling to hear how deep their voices are. When I started teaching them, they were in 8th grade and when I get there, they will be finishing 11th and moving onto their final year of high school. I will see them before they all scatter to the wind in different directions and convince them to stop calling my parents in the middle of the night. Maybe give a mini-lesson on time zones.

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