As the coach of a team that hasn’t won a game in at least six years and probably won’t for the next six, I had to assume a particular mindset going into this tournament, namely, that enjoying ourselves would be the most important takeaway. And in that we were quite successful. Somehow it’s easier to have fun when no-one expects you to win. (I’m sure there’s an important lesson about competition in there somewhere.) It’s my second year coaching middle school boys softball and this year, just like the last, my players impressed me with the positive attitude they carried in this type of situation — as if they somehow understood that there is more to life than middle school softball in Venezuela.
The season consists of ten practices and the tournament. At the tournament we play four games and the other two teams play five (there are three international schools in Venezuela that field middle school softball teams). So in the minds of many, the tournament is between two teams, with our school there to defend the sportsmanship award that we earn every year.
What do I get as the coach? I fulfill my contractual obligation, get two days off school and an expenses-paid trip to city other than Caracas…I’d say it’s a great way to end a decidedly short season, regardless of our athletic performance. We stayed in the best hotel the town has to offer, to boot — a five star joint called Hesperia. Let it suffice to say that I felt lucky all the way through the weekend. Great kids. Good times.
You might look below and wonder why there are no photos of the players in action. Well, I suppose I was too busy coaching. And anyways, what I truly find more fascinating is the Bass Pro Shops fashion trend in Venezuela. Looking at the kids on the bus you might think we were on the way to do some duck hunting in the bayou. I’m baffled.