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Jim and Peri's
for Turkish Learning --
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We say Softball...
The kids just got better and better...
The Rise and Fall of the Gümüldür RugRats
The 3rd and last Gümüldür World Series certificate -- 1996
Click to see image enlagement of the softball certificate...
We formed a softball (rounders) kids-team the second full summer we were here. Called it the Gümüldür RugRats. Three evenings a week, we'd choose up sides from the available players, and then play until it got dark. I was the permanent coach-pitcher-umpire for both sides -- and we gave out International World Series Certificates each year to everyone on the team list. This pleasant little amusement lasted nearly three full summer seasons...
Team membership was open to both sexes of all ages (under 17) and everyone played, no matter what. As the game's popularity grew, so did the size of the team until we had more than 20 playing members on the team list -- from ages 5 to 16. Boys outnumbered girls, but only by about 3 to 2. And, slowly but surely these kids (who, when they began, didn't even know how to hold a bat) began to get pretty damned good.
We bent the rules occasionally...which allowed the really young players a chance to stroke clean hits through an infield of purposely-drawn-in defensive players. But even though it was all done in fun, the kids kept improving from summer season to summer season; it was quite a sight to see.
And then one weekend during the Third Summer Softball Season -- while Peri and I were away in Fetiye -- one of the other homeowners in our all-Turkish (except for me) resort village erected metal goalposts for soccer. And he buried them in cement at either end of our softball playing field -- placing them in danger zones where young softball players might run into them while chasing down softball 'pop flies' or pulling in long softball 'blasts'.
When Peri and I returned and I pointed out the faulty design-consideration of the goalposts to him, the homeowner was flummoxed. Said he had no intention of causing a problem... but soccer was, after all, Turkey's national sport.
Which was, of course, the indisputable truth.
The Best of the 1996 Gümüldür Rugrat All-Stars
(with their admiring Coach, at left)
Gone but not forgotten...
The kids didn't know which way to turn... So (a little desperately), they pleaded that they'd be extra careful while using the field for softball. Said they'd avoid the goalposts like poison... And I'm sure they would have done -- until the score was close late in the game, and someone popped-up the ball for what might be the final 'out', as excited kids scrambled to catch it, just a little too near one of those metal goalposts... It just wasn't worth the risk.
So that was the end of that. We played one final 'All Star Game' (with an adult posted at each goalpost for safety) and bid farewell to
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