Sunday, September 13, 2009

NAC Orientation Part V - The Labor Day Extravaganza

On Monday of last week, we celebrated Labor Day. Yes, sadly, we still had Italian classes- no rest for the wicked (and no rest from labor on Labor Day here), but after our morning classes we had a cookout and the dress code was relaxed so that we could wear more American backyard cookout/tailgating clothes. A lot of guys wore baseball caps and their baseball team shirts and such things. We had hamburgers, brats, and many of the other game day standards that are harder to come by in Italy. It was really kinda nice to have that taste of home after a little time acclimating to our new home.

After the cookout, we had a new men vs the second-year men softball game. I didn't end up playing but I very much enjoyed watching our team utterly dismantle the second-year men. The final score was something like 14-3. There was even at least one inning, I think, where we had three up and three down- not one man from the other team got to base. Our outfield was really rather exceptional. The game was made all the more enjoyable by the second-year color commentating that they had going from one of the lower walkout terraces on the NAC. We also had a foot race during our fifth inning stretch. One of the second-year men considered himself to be "the fastest seminarian alive." This, however, was put to rest by two of the incoming men, one of whom had been running competitively since he was about five. Further, he had a few inches of stride on the second-year man, which helped him to pull off a win. It was quite a race, though, and it was definitely a close finish for all the men involved. We all had a lot of fun; the celebrations were a welcome diversion from the studies and the orientation conferences.

One of our monsignors was exercising his role as father in our community and cooking the hamburgers and brats for us. One of the second-year guys was helping him out.

Here, of course, like at any good American baseball game we sang the national anthem, with our color commentators and their friends holding the flag for us. We also had the rector offer our opening prayer.
"Play ball!"

Here are some of the men stretching and preparing
themselves for the softball game.

Here we see a handful of the spectators. There were a fair number behind me, too, but I couldn't capture all of us in the picture. Besides, I was trying to watch the game, too. That's why you won't be seeing any pictures from the game. Sorry.

Here are the four men participating in the foot race (along with the "official"). I tried to get a shot of the finish, but there were too many people in the way and it happened a little too quickly.

After the game, both teams shook hands. Our players might just look a bit more satisfied with the results of the game. Just maybe. After that, everyone, including the spectators, dropped a knee in prayer of thanksgiving to Our Lord around home plate.

May we keep that in mind- that all our endeavors, whether apparently successful or not, ought to end in prayer and thanksgiving to God, from whom all good things come.

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