Junior Girls' Slo-Pitch 2016-17: An Oral History

In the middle of September, Mr. Ly invited girls from Grades 4-6 to try out for a junior girls’ slo-pitch team. Vivian, Cyndy, Emma, Safa, Zara, Eileen, Sisi, Alice, Kaylee, Sally, and Vanessa all accepted the invitation and formed the first slo-pitch team that Banting and Best has had in many years. They each had their own reasons for joining the team.


Vivian, Captain:

I decided to try out for the softball team because it would be a great experience for me to join a sports team for the first time.


Zara, Outfielder:

I thought it would be fun and it would be a great way to get exercise.


Emma, Infielder:

I was interested to how to learn to play softball. And my dad really loves softball.


Safa, Catcher:

It was a nice opportunity for me to learn. I also liked baseball and I wanted to join in.


Eileen, Catcher:

I decided to try out for the softball team because...I just like hitting stuff, okay?


For many of the girls, it was their first experience with the sport of slo-pitch softball. Because the girls were learning the game for the first time, Mr. Ly insisted on having two-a-day practices, which meant practising once in the morning before school and once after school, every single day.


Emma, Infielder:

I was pretty tired, but I was also excited because I could learn.


Vivian, Captain:

It was fun. It gave us a lot of practice, but especially in the morning, it was hard to wake up because I don’t usually wake up at that time.


Zara, Outfielder:

It was tiring, but it was pretty fun.


Safa, Catcher:

I felt pretty happy and pretty awkward at the same time because after school I really have nothing to do at home and I like staying after school. In the morning, I felt very tired and it was just not my [best] time.


The girls had to share practice time with the Intermediate Girls’ Slo-Pitch team, but this arrangement proved to be beneficial for the players on the younger team. The intermediate girls acted as strong role models for the junior team.


Emma, Infielder:

I liked being with the Grade 8s because I could learn more from them. There were more people to teach me.


Safa, Catcher:

I liked sharing practices with the Grade 8s because you can learn from them and you can see what they do.


Zara, Outfielder:

The could help us sometimes, when they weren’t busy.


Each and every member of the team improved her skills in throwing and catching softballs. The girls also learned about reading pitches and fly balls, and they developed the ability to swing a bat effectively.


Emma, Infielder:

My softball skills improved a lot because before I didn’t know how to play softball at all. I didn’t even know how to catch a ball. But now, I learned how to bat and catch different kinds of balls.


Kaylee, 3rd Base:

I can actually swing a bat.


Safa, Catcher:

My skills turned out really good. At first I really didn’t know how to hold a bat properly.


Vivian, Captain:

I was the first batter [in the lineup] and it gave me a lot of experience because I would usually have more [at-bats] than others. I really did improve my skills by having practices each and every day.


Though he had only been at the school for about a month at the start of the slo-pitch season, the girls quickly got a sense of how Mr. Ly is as a coach...for better or for worse. For these first-time athletes, there was the realization that being on a competitive team isn’t always all fun and games. But they also learned that even the strictest coaches can have more than one side...


Emma, Infielder:

I think Mr. Ly is funny and he is also very strict when we are trying to learn new things.


Zara, Outfielder:

[He’s] encouraging, but [he can be] mean.


Safa, Catcher:

Mr. Ly is really into teaching us and he is funny and nice.


Vivian, Captain:

[It’s] really embarrassing when he’s mad at us. He loves coffee and he always brings coffee to practices.


On October 11th, the team traveled to Joseph Howe Public School to play in a tournament against other schools. The experience of competing against other schools was a new one for the girls and many lessons were learned that day. But the girls played hard and came close to finishing with a winning record. Not everyone enjoyed the experience.


Safa, Catcher:

First when we [arrived], I was really nervous and when it was my turn to bat, I was literally shaking. It was scary. After we won that first game, I was really proud of [myself] and my whole team.


Vivian, Captain:

It was my first time experiencing the pressure of winning or losing. I think the main reason why we hesitated to bat is because we were scared.


Emma, Infielder:

It was very scary because we were losing. But once we won one game, I got happy.


Zara, Outfielder:

It was very exhilarating!


Eileen, Catcher:

I was a sub. I didn’t even play. [I played] a little...and I mostly sat on the ground, freezing cold.


Now that the season is over, there will be no more two-a-day practices or team meetings in Portable 2. The girls will no longer be subjected to chilly mornings on the field or balls whizzing by their heads. With slo-pitch season over, members of the team had to say goodbye to throws to first base and runs across home plate, striking out on three pitches and snagging fly balls out of the air. What do they miss most about being on the team?


Emma, Infielder:

I am going to miss having fun with my friends and playing softball. I hope that there will be a second season of softball.


Vivian, Captain:

I miss being the captain and helping others. But also I miss the fun and the two practices every day.


Sisi, Shortstop:

[I miss] the pizza [that we got at the team party Mr. Ly gave us to celebrate the season.]


Eileen, Catcher:

[What am I going to miss?] Hmm...hitting everything!


Safa, Catcher:

I really miss a lot of the stuff. I miss the actual season, I miss how much fun we had. Hopefully next year we have a really good year!