Remember That Softball Team We Had?
Yeah, the past tense is intentional there. If you recall the softball team we started a while ago, you’ll be slightly disappointed to hear of it’s unforeseen disbanding. Following the brilliant success that was our game against Biləsuvar, we had planned to make a trip north to take them on in their own home field. In the subsequent weeks, we had exactly zero practices. Most students didn’t show up, so it was me playing catch with a kid or two and then calling it a day.
Why ever would this happen? I think there’s probably a few reasons to which we can attribute our fallen stars. First, it could be the case that following the big success that was the Biləsuvar game, our players felt it was the high-point in their careers. After reaching that pinnacle, what else could there be? They got on TV and received certificates. I think it could be that they don’t think it will get any bigger than this, so they stopped.
A second reason could be the weather. It’s getting hot in Lənkəran and our practices have to be in the afternoon. While I don’t forgive them, I could understand that it’s too hot to be out in an open, sunny field.
The third and fourth possible reasons are some team management issues that we didn’t really take care of. Third, we don’t have anyone’s phone number. A lot of the players came from School #7, Rachel’s school, and she would be able to tell them details at school as to practices and games. Now there is no school, and we have no numbers.
The fourth reason is probably fairly salient. We didn’t really have a concrete program set up here. We had basically four people stepping in to run this team. Eli was the main proponent of the team, but we all took turns running practices when someone else had to attend to other duties. For example, Tuesday’s are days that I’m at the bank and can’t leave. It was also the day that Rachel couldn’t be done with her clubs at school in time to be at the practice. Practicing on Tuesday became a problem. So almost every week, we would have different American faces coaching the team.
That last possible reason I’ll mention is that the students probably were a little concerned over that last big practice where we were told by the sports school director that we needed permission from the local government to play there. That nearly scared us away. It might have scared some kids away, too (we did get permission though, and it was easier than we thought).
What are the lessons I draw from this? First, if we really want to make this work, we probably have to be more consistent with our coaches, having people be there regularly, instead of trying to scramble for every practice to see who could make it. The second big one is to make sure we keep an accurate roster with contact info for these kids. And the third is probably that we need to make sure the schedule works for the students. Moving our practices to a later time, maybe when it’s not so hot, may have helped.