Softball Thoughts

by Tim Carter (written in November 1984)

The Softball Team at IIASA (© Tim Carter)

Ladies and Gentlemen, silence pray
For I've some words I'd like to say
Permit me to recite to you
Softball thoughts, a British view

Late in nineteen eighty three
When I was innocent as could be
Pure of mind and starry-eyed
At Laxenburg, I arrived

Eight months later, back in May
A lady asked me out to play
I said "How lovely, what's the game?"
She answered "Softball is its name."

To be quite frank, this short description
Sounded like a bad affliction
I said to her "I'd rather not --
I value mine, they're all I've got!"

She said "Hang on, for just a bit
You've got it wrong you English twit
It's one of those American sports
We play out near the tennis courts."

I asked "And how should one be dressed?"
She said "Go scruffy, that's the best"
"Alright," I stated, "I agree
I'll meet you on the field at three."

I was greeted as I reached the ground
By raucous voices all around
To me it came as no surprise --
Yanks of every shape and size

"Top of the first!" came a shout
"Tim you're up, don't hang about!"
Said I, "I'm new to this, old bean
So what the dickens do you mean?"

"What I mean, you English ponse
Is grab that bat" was his response
"Watch the ball until it's right
Then hit the mother out of sight"

"I'm not sure that I comprehend
Whose mother should I apprehend?
Of hitting girls I'm not in favor
In fact, it's rather rank behavior!"

"Hell, give me strength, who is this jerk?
You hit the ball, you stupid berk"
"Oh, very well, I'll do my best
And which direction do you suggest?"

Said he, "Aim for an empty space
Then run like crazy to first base
And if the ball is moving fast
Run on to second, third  and last."

So up I stepped with bat in hand
The catcher showed me where to stand
I gazed across towards my foe
Preparing for a viscious throw ...

I tried hard not to show my grief
But soon it changed to disbelief
For after my profound alarm
The pitcher bowled an underarm!

Of course, I missed the blasted ball
To hit it I'd have had to crawl
"Call that a ball?" was my retort,
"Is this some kind of poofter's sport?"

The next ball struck me on the shin
The pitcher tried hard not to grin
Another flew above my head
"When does it get dark?" I said

And then at last, the ideal throw
Not too high and not too low
My bat described a perfect arc
And with a crack it found its mark.

The ball went low at rapid rate
Alas the skipper saw it late
He fell to earth with muffled groans
Clutching at his nether zones.

Heedless of his sorry case
I ran to first, then second base
The ball which I'd assumed had vanished
To the skipper's groin was banished.

So moving to the third was fine
And of the ball there was no sign
While using almost any means
The fielders tore the skipper's jeans.

But all this was to no avail
For when they found the Holy Grail
I was able to proclaim
A home run in my debut game!

The skipper's anger was extreme
Stripped half-naked by his team
He cursed the pitcher and the ball
And the English, most of all!

"I'm awfully sorry," I declared
"But really you should be prepared
In cricket we allow for knocks
By wearing a protective box."

And so the moral of this tale
Is guard your soft balls without fail
If this advice you disregard
You'll find that softballs are rather hard!

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Last edited: 05 January 2016


Monika Bauer

IIASA Network and Alumni Officer Communications and External Relations Department

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