Big Fish, Little Pond -Let's talk about syndromes

First of all, my little brother gave me a cool little Christmas present, it's a little desk calender, flip style, with a collection of the best quotes by George W. Bush. Needless to say, it is hilarious. So, first up, the quote for January 8th 2008.

''We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in doing so, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure.''

So, who exactly does Bush preside over?!

Anyway. Onwards and upwards.

Have you ever witnessed the 'Big Fish, Little Pond' syndrome? It occurs where you are playing in a minority sport, for example, soccer in the States, or, baseball in Ireland. It's simply the funniest thing. Some guys within the sport in question act like they are the Pope of Chilli Town, sashaying around like royalty and trash talking incessantly.

It happens a good bit in Ireland, and I assume the UK too, amongst the major American sports groups. In Ireland, for example, there is a thriving basketball league, the growing baseball league and a competitive American football league also. Sometimes people in those leagues get a little ahead of themselves, be it on the field of play or at social events or in online forums.

A great example in Ireland is in the Softball community. Softball is played competitively in Ireland, as opposed to the States where it is generally treated as a recreational game, played at parties and often involving large quantities of beer. In Ireland however, the games often get very involved and serious.

Years ago I played for a fun, crazy bunch of folk called 'The Troops'. They played for a laugh and to get out with friends. They definitely played with tongue in cheek. One hilarious situation arose that describes beautifully the 'Big Fish, Little Pond' phenomenon.

One lovely sunny Monday evening the Troops played a knock out cup game against the B team of the Marlay Martyrs, ostensibly filled with 'B' level players from the 'powerful' Marlay 'A' side. There were a few 'A' level players watching though, bear that in mind. The game started and the underdog Troops (Marlay 'B' actually played in a higher division!) jumped out to a lead. Softball games in Ireland are 7 innings and in the 5th the Troops held a 10-8 lead. Marlay started to fear their 'B' team was going to be knocked out of the Cup. I noticed one of their 'A' team players, a fella who played for the Irish softball team, started to get ready to play.

I don't think the Troops would have complained at all however Marlay must have thought we would, if they brought in an 'A' level player. Why do I say that? Amazingly, one of their players, in between plays, feigned injury. He keeled over and pretended his ankle was hurt. I guess Marlay thought that was how they would sneak the 'A' level player in.

Sure enough, the big batter won the game in the 7th driving in 3 runs to lead Marlay 'B' past the Troops.

As is the custom, both teams went to a local bar afterwards. A few of the Troops started to playfully tease the young Marlay 'B' player about his 'injury' when he replied that he was told to fake it by his Captain. That's right. The team captain told a younger, 'B' level player to fake an injury so the 'A' level player could come in and rescue them from losing to an underdog.

Best part of the story? I was at the bar waiting for a couple of pints when I overheard the 'A' level player/hero telling one of his friends what sort of pitch he hit for the winning runs.

So, a ringer, who entered a pretty meaningless Irish slow-pitch softball cup game by way of one of the 'B' level players faking injury was standing at a bar gloating about driving in runs to win the game and describing the slow-pitch softball pitch, the actual type of pitch, that he hit to do so.

Unbelievable. How do you describe a slow-pitch softball pitch as anything other than 'Loopy and, well, slow'?

Now THAT is classic 'Big Fish, Little Pond' syndrome. I have buckets of them, and will regurgitate them slowly over the next few weeks. Aren't you excited?!