Sunday, June 05, 2005

This morning we packed family and food into our rental car and headed out to the ball game. The Prague Post annual softball tournament was in full swing and we were on our way to cheer on Will’s team.

There aren’t many ballparks in the Czech Republic, at least for baseball and softball, and I thought we’d be heading to a soccer field borrowed for the tournament and redressed. But when we arrived we found 5 ball fields, beautifully groomed, lined by trees, and with a new ballpark house at the center, just next to the main stadium. I was impressed that a neighborhood would have such nice facilities, not realizing until later that we were actually admiring one of the biggest clubs in the country.

Much of the action this early was still happening in the parking lot, and we watched as a van unloaded business guys carefully dressed in full baseball regalia. Compared to our team, arrayed in t-shirts and blue jeans, they looked serious, but portly. They trooped off to a practice field and were soon lined up lobbing balls back and forth, punching their gloves and jogging around their small field to warm up, yelling back and forth in English of various accents. Business consultants, I decided.

Further down and away from the stands, our team was at the beginning of a consolation game, so we left the professionals to their warm up and headed over to watch. Caroline enjoyed the walk, down a gravel path that made a satisfying sound as you went. For once she didn't demand a ride, but hung low from our hands and focused on each step, crunch crunch.

Once we got to the dugout C loved the action too, and helped yell in the calls - “ball, ball“ (the pitcher’s mound was a tad far from the plate for unpracticed pitchers). Our team batted deep into the outfield, hit a few home runs and sped around the bases till our 45 minutes was up and it was time to go home, or at least get a beer.

Over the loud speakers Crosby, Stills, Nash sang “There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.“ Life was playing that Czech-American-worlds-colliding trick on us, and the mix was mighty fine.

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