Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 this heaven? :-)

Dad, this one's for you! :-)

At conversation class last night I decided to begin by explaining the game of baseball to the class. During the previous class I had mentioned the game and they didn’t know what it was all about but wanted to learn. So, I started by drawing the diamond and explaining the field positions, making little dots of blue for all the field players and dots of black for the batting team. I explained the positions of pitcher, catcher, short-stop, basemen, and outfielders. As I began to explain how the game works I realized they knew nothing about baseball at all. "A pitcher throws the ball to the catcher? Why? Why does he stand in the middle? Can you run from base 1 to 3? How can you have more people on one team playing than another?" Etc. Etc. I slowly explained how the batting works--describing how you get strikes and balls and why you can walk to a base and what other players do if you walk vs. if you run and what your own team does if you walk to a base and the ways you can get out and yada yada. "So, you get an out if the ball is caught in the air, but not if it bounces? Is the strike zone the same for everyone? Why three strikes and you’re out but four balls and you can walk?" I asked students to stand up to help demonstrate the actions/movement of the pitcher, catcher, and batter. When I asked the pitcher to pretend to throw a ball, he threw underhand. At this, I demonstrated how to throw the way I've watched my dad throw since I was a little girl, and this got the class laughing! Also, at first they also didn't understand why a catcher would be crouching down, but I think we settled that more or less when we talked about the strike zone. Still, I'm not sure how well it worked.

Then I made a game scenario using examples of all the rules I had just described. I pretended one person walked, one person had a foul, another made it to second base, one person tagged out, another person out by a fly ball, etc. I described what happened as each player was up to bat; whether or not they got a strike or ball depending on what they and the pitcher and batter did. Throughout all of this I had to describe how the other players ran around the bases as well, and why they would or would not want to continue to the next base. Finally one player made it to home plate and as I said, "This is one point for the batting team" and the whole class laughed and exclaimed with a sigh of relief, "Finally! You really have to do all that work for just one point?!"

After three outs I said the teams switched roles and did the same thing again. This is one inning, and a game is either 7 or 9 innings. So, the game time is based on how well the players perform, not on a time schedule like football (soccer) or basketball. So, a game can take 2 hours, or it can take four. This was another interesting concept to them.

About a half an hour later we were finished talking about baseball. Wow. I had no idea how hard it would be to explain the game and its rules to people who had no concept of the sport. At the end of our discussion on baseball one person stated, "So, this is a violent game." Huh? I never made any allusion to that! Another piped in, "Yes, people hit each other all the time. This is how we see it in the movies." I thought, "Oh, no, they are seeing baseball movies where the players fight over the calls or whatever. Shoot, not the best way to see the game." And then BINGO it hit me. I realized they were thinking of American Football! The entire time at least some of the students thought I was describing how to play football, not baseball! Ha! Where had the confusion began? Well, last week I had described baseball as the "Egyptian football of America" meaning football (soccer) is to Egypt what baseball is to America. (Although football is MUCH greater to Egypt than any sport is to America.) Oops...I'll try to not make that mistake again. Still, next week the students want to learn about American Football at the beginning of class...whew...


  • At 2/15/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ha, that sounds like a hoot. I only made one attempt to explain baseball, and realized it was futile shortly thereafter. We just stuck to discussing the finer points of tossing the Frisbee.
    ps. I wore my Ahly (Boo, Zamalek!) jersey yesterday in celebration. It's #22, Abutrikka's number...I was telling everyone who would listen that he scored the winning goal.


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