Published: March 27th 2007March 27th 2007
There is a wonderful stream/river that runs right through Le Vaudreuil, the town where I live. The other day I was reading a book on a bench by the river, and this swan swam up to say hello.
Another day, another exciting practice.
We got there at 2 and began the youth practice with Eric. It went great, we went over base-running technique which I think was very helpful for the youths. It was flo and eric and I, and with three coaches a practice runs smoothly.
Immediately following this practice the Bois-Guillaume adult team was to meet, those players who could make it, and work on fixing the batting cage. It turns out that we did not have the materials to do so, so Eric left for the store to buy some hooks, ropes, hinges, etc., while we began putting up the signs and billboards on the fences surrounding the field. We found this task undoable because the fasteners and hooks had all broken on many of the signs.
We decided to start practice a bit early, working on groundballs to the infield.
When eric arrived, he was upset because we had not done as he had asked us to. He went over to the net and announced that there was a hedgehog stuck in the net of the deteriorating batting cage. Then he walked off—I was told he had a doctor’s appointment to go to.
So we continued to practice, working on ground balls and working with Eve, one of our potential catchers. We got into a discussion/disagreement over the proper technique for a catcher to handle a play at the plate with the bases loaded, receiving the throw and then trying for the double play to first base. I was arguing that he should stand out in front of the plate like a first baseman, receive the ball, and then throw it to first. Flo was trying to teach him to receive it how a secondbaseman would do in turning a double play. At the same time the rest of the team was in a discussion over how to pivot and make the throw from shortstop to 2b on a double play.
Once Eric had arrived again and some of the other players were arriving, we began practice. Things felt very disorganized because we had begun early, some of us were just arriving, we couldn’t fix the cage, a dead animal in the cage, there was disagreement over what we should do next; in addition there were also numerous players attending practice who were new to baseball and just learning. It is unclear to me why, if they are just learning, they do not attend the practice with the Cadet team, the younger players. Wouldn’t they have more opportunity to learn baseball that way?
As we began taking batting practice, it was discovered by Eric and I (the other eric) that in fact the hedgehog stuck in the net was alive; it was a sad site, the hedgehog being overtaken by flies as it twitched, trying to break free. He was so tangled up in the net that as hard as we tried to untangle him it was impossible to do so. We looked for some scissors, but were unable to find any. Finally later on in the practice someone successfully freed him, and he immediately bounded off into the bushes.
It is apparent to me that one of the major problems with our team right now is that there is no clear leader on the team. Flo is the coach, Jean-Luc is the manager, and as I understand it Flo is supposed to lead the practices and then Jean-Luc leads the games. This, to me, does not make sense. I am used to having one single coach who oversees all and has, more or less, the final word. What is more, Flo is new to the team and does not have a rapport with the players. There is no sense that the things he says are taken with any sort of authority (for one thing numerous players are older than he).
For example it is unclear who sets the agenda for practice, who sets the standards, who begins practice even. Then, every once in a while, the microphone is passed to me and I am asked to ‘lead’, so to speak, or be the authority on this or that topic or aspect of the game. “What should we do here, will?” I am not used to this. Or atleast not on a team where I am still trying to get my bearings and find my place among the other players. Of course these are issues that any team comes across over the course of a season and in the process of building a cohesive team. I think much will become clearer once we play a game. It will remind us of what we need to work on, what is working and what isn’t, what we need to adjust or change. How we should go about approaching this team venture.
Sometimes I need to remind myself that while I am being ‘paid’ to be here and play baseball, the rest of the guys are not. We are coming to the field with very different perspectives and very different expectations.
**a quick note. As I read this last journal before posting it, I realize that it is an example of one entry that lots of you might not be interested in. It is long, lots of baseball detail and a bit of nagging about the team. It is one of those things about having a blog—trying to walk the line between writing what I think a reader wants to read and at the same time writing what is on my mind.