Wednesday, January 18, 2012

West African International Softball Tournament

I just got back from almost a week in Dakar, Senegal.  About 30 of the Gambian volunteers went to the West African International Softball Tournament (WAIST).  There were 20 teams in the social league.  There were local Senegalese teams, local high school teams, Senegal Peace Corps teams, a team with Cape Verde, Guinea Peace Corps volunteers and then two teams from The Gambia.   

The week started off the night before we left with a friend of mine in my village braiding my hair into cornrows.  I went to here with the design and she did a great job.  She also braided my sideburns.   It was one of the most painful experiences of my life, the worse was the pain lasting for an hour and a half. 

Binta braiding my hair

Side view of my sideburn cornrows

It took us about nine hours to get from The Gambia to Dakar.  The first two days was pool play and the winner of each of the four pools would go onto the semifinals. 

The second day was tied the team we were playing with and they end with three wins and a tie.  We still had one game left to play and we had to win.  That would give us the same record and the tie breaker would be the run difference of how many runs we won by.  The magic number was 2 we had to beat our last opponent by two runs to advance on to the semifinals.  We did it we ended up winning 18-8. 
Monday rolls around and we play our first game against a team of Japanese players that are working for some organization in Dakar.  We fell behind them early in the game and slowly were scratching our way back and at the bottom of the 7th we were down 7-11 and we started being more patient at the plate and we ended up getting a couple key hits and a couple key walks and we won 13-11.
Trophy presentation

The team and crew

Me, John and Seth
The final was our team against a local Senegalese team.  I didn’t pitch very well, I was thinking too much and started walking people.  It seemed when those people got on base the next Batter would hit a homerun or the ball would find a hole and land in it.  We ended up losing 13-7.  We got a real nice second place trophy.

Me and the trophy girl
As you can see my outfit was one of intimidation, as a pitcher I took a note from “Kenny Powers” and Charlie sheen’s character Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn from Major League.  Most games I just got laughs and stares as I would walk back along the highway to our hotel.

Before games and after games we had lots of free time to walk around and see the sights of Dakar.  We went to a mall, a grocery store, and the beach.   We ate fajitas and just enjoyed ourselves because this was a vacation after all.

Walking to the beach

Chicken Fajita

Downtown Dakar market

Traffic leaving Dakar