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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer learns to be a team player

With the current emphasis on social distancing due to coronavirus fears, we are not seeing the signs announcing         the start of the baseball and soccer season as we normally do in Spring each year.

Along with hand-made notices alerting neighbours to garage sales, these were a sure sign of spring. While my husband is a cricket fan, and follows the games with great interest, I am not one would describe as “sporty”. But as newcomers eager to introduce our son to a typical Canadian sport, we  signed him up for a baseball team.

We got into the swing of things with great enthusiasm. Twice a week, we’d have an early dinner – super early, if you went by the time we were used to back in India! – and rush out to make it for practice. The teams would get going on the diamond and the parents would sit around on the bleachers, coffee mugs in hand, chatting. A few resourceful ones brought along flat cushions or mousepads to sit on as the benches can be hard on the back. It was a convivial way to spend an evening, to meet other young parents in the neighbourhood and expand our circle.

And also to learn the rules of a sport we knew absolutely nothing about. Gradually, with gentle encouragement from our new friends, we began to feel less ill-informed. I began throwing terms like home run in my calls home, unable to resist showing off my knowledge of “Canadian” ways..

But pride, as we know, comes before a fall. One bright spring evening, a little boy hit a home run and I clapped loudly, nudging my husband, who was absorbed in something he was reading on his phone, to do the same. There was much cheering from other parents, too, but not from those sitting with us. Then we realized that all the parents cheering and clapping were sitting on the other side – the kid who had hit a home run was on the other team!

Of course, sane adults and all good, polite and friendly Canadians will tell you that it’s just a game and that a home run by any kid on any teams is to be acknowledged, but we’d also seen how seriously some parents take these friendly games, getting into furious discussion over an umpire’s call.

Cheering for the wrong team was as big a faux pas as a newcomer could make! 

– Prajakta Shahane


What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada. Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@rogers.com.

Posted: Apr 7, 2020

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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