America Reaches a New Low (by Dallas Reid)


On a pleasantly cool evening on the HK International School’s newly installed artificial turf at Tai Tam, a scratch team from the Club’s squash section turned out to play the finest softball players that the American Club had to offer.


On the one side, the Football Club side, who mostly had never held a baseball bat or have the vaguest notions of the rules.  On the other, 8 finely tuned softball athletes who had been building up to this fixture with long hours of training since the age of 4.  Our Captain, Rob (Baseball) Jones’ pre-match prediction of the score was a conservative 50-0.  Perhaps because of this “confidence”, he did not bother to brief his team on the rules of the game, so we basically assumed it was cricket with a lot of full tosses.  The only rule agreed between Captains (and even they were not passed on to the players) were:-


1)    No sliding
2)    No running into other players
3)    No spitting
4)    No chewing tobacco

Thanks to the lack of rules knowledge, in the first couple of innings, our players were dismissed in a bewildering collection of ways in which softball differs from cricket.  For example apparently you have to hit the ball in a certain direction to be valid, and you cannot complete a run off a catch.


Despite this handicap, by the third innings we were starting to get the hang of things (except David Murray who does not even understand cricket and was therefore at a huge disadvantage).  Alex ‘Babe Ruth’ Berriman who had arrived with the announcement “I am injured, sorry I cannot play well today” proceeded to blast the ball consistently out of the ground for three consecutive home runs.  During one of these he collected Sondra Lee on his way round the bases and the two of them arrived at the home plate in one tangled heap, for two runs.  Impressively this was the third time she managed to fall over in that single score, showing great determination, but a worrying lack of coordination.



 David Murray goes long – where is the talent scout?

Clearly the American team was bewildered by our techniques, which as well as falling over a lot, included running off with the bat (which is apparently considered bad form), stopping balls with the shin instead of the enormous glove provided, and running 30 yards to take a catch which was about to land in the glove of another stationary fielder.  After a strong initial lead, they were caught, and then rapidly overtaken, and by the official end time of 8pm found themselves staring at a 21-12 loss.


Notwithstanding this shock result, we were royally entertained at the American Club round the corner, and after some discussion they suggested that we forget softball and their next challenge would be either ice-hockey or American Football.  As it should be our pick next time, I suggest Croquet or Real Tennis.

Soft_Ball_Dinner.jpgDinner at the American Club

All in all this was a tremendously entertaining event, and thanks from all players must go to Rob Jones and John Lau for organizing the event,  our American hosts for their hospitality, and HK International School for the use of their majestic artificial pitch.


The teams were:-


HKFC Sluggers 

Alex ‘Babe Ruth’ Berriman

David (Swing for the Bleachers) Cross
Rob (Baseball) Jones
Tom Keenan
Vicky Koo
Sondra (I get knocked down, but I get up again) Lee
David (Can’t we play shinty?) Murray
Dallas Reid
Richard (I just attended a house party, so I’m drinking this vodka to help shake off pre-game jitters) Williams

American Eagles 

Allen, Lance
Cho, Albert
Lau, Brian
Lau, Gemma
Lau, John
Longuepee, Francis
Tse, Ray
Williams, Brock
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