Rounders – Day 24
I don’t know about you but my memories of playing rounders take me back to the school field on sunny days and the smell of freshly cut grass. I always enjoyed the PE lesson when the rounders bat appeared. The ones who didn’t, would offer to field far away and set up a manufacturing line of daisy chains. Instead, I was one of those irritating children who would race to be first to pick up the bat and want to bagsy one of the key positions when fielding.
Apparently rounders is still played in 87% of schools across the country, which is a great statistic to hear. Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t find a rounders team in Cornwall, so I joined my hockey team as we entered into a mixed rounders competition. My teammates are young, fit, competitive and enthusiastic; the first two of those powers have faded with me but I still possess remnants of the latter two. I am not quite ready to be put out to pasture, even if there are daisies there.
We met and whilst walking to the field, we brushed up on the rules. Only 1 attempt at batting? I don’t remember that! Three no-balls are half a rounder and other various rules came back to me as we walked. We were one of a dozen teams and we immediately set about sizing up the competition. Apparently it could get quite competitive, so our team huddle consisted of whether we were going to high five, whether we could run in flip-flops and did we really need to wear shin pads.
Huddle over, we ran off to our positions. I had noticed in the previous game, 3rd post didn’t get up to much and didn’t seem to be a pressure position, so I deposited myself there and hoped my team would carry me, as I remembered my limitations from the cricket challenge: I can’t bowl or catch a hard ball. Our back stop Hugh and Scott on first base worked well to get 4 people out and with Sugar’s consistent bowling, we managed to limit the opposition to set ourselves a manageable target. Once into bat, the boys and Sugar (our token good female player) scored a number of rounders and then it was my turn to bat. One ball faced, one ball missed - damn it!
The allotted time was up and we lodged a comfortable win. We then had a beverage to aid team morale and confidently went into the next match. What transpired in this match went against all my views on how a game should be played and the spirit it should be played in, but as I’ve always recorded all the good things, I have to report on the bad; there was cheating, time wasting and arguments from the opposition and after the match had finished (which we narrowly lost) there were no handshakes, just a festering sense of ill feeling. We marched off in protest to the nearest pub to reconcile the wrong doings we had experienced.
I can’t stand unsportsmanlike behaviour. I wince when I see overly competitive parents on the sidelines shouting down the umpire or worse still, the opposition. It is rare but it happens. It’s a game and it should be fun, even if it is competitive.
These instances don’t happen very often but I didn’t want to write negatively about my experience with one particular sport, which I hold in such high regard. So I decided to get a bat and a ball and set up a game in the garden with the kids and a few friends. The kids had an absolute ball, whilst I managed to hit a ball. I am a firm believer that you can craft your own happy ending.
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