Awoke early this morning eager to get a win under our belt, even though I personally was out of commission - my arm isn't used to pitching so often. Boarded the bus at 7:30am (received a call earlier informing me of the ramped-up departure time... alarming, to say the least) and dozed until reaching the field.
Being a typically superstitious baseball player wanting to end a losing streak, I decided to mix things up a bit for my pre-game activities. I remained in shorts and undershirt until right before the first pitch, a move that garnered me an additional couple hours of much-needed leg tan. I also unplugged the headphones from my Blackberry to share the music with the rest of the team (well, those who happened to be in my immediate vicinity, as the 8300 does not exactly offer high-fidelity sound).
With the sounds of Daft Punk, T.I., Pink Floyd, and even a little Eminem caressing the inner workings of our ears, the Netanya Tigers felt a dynamic resurgence that carried us through the game with aplomb. Our starting pitcher, Matt Comiter, dealt out the good stuff; our hitters put up 6 runs and we never looked back. Good to get back to the winning ways.
After the game I showered, packed, and took the bus to the central Tel Aviv station, accompanied by an Ethiopian girl named, appropriately enough, Aviv. Once at the station, she directed me to the correct bus to take to the train station, where I took heed of the "All Aboard to Bet Shemesh" call. The trip was much nicer than the bus trek I did a couple of weeks ago, and will remain my transport method of choice.
Now I sit at the house of Ben McKemie and family again, happily full after a delicious Shabbat meal. Earlier, I attended services with Ben at the local synagogue and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Even though many a pair of eyes were aimed in my direction out of curiosity, I eventually felt comfortable with my surroundings and was able to take it all in. I have not been religious for some time now, so I approached it all with a very open mind and really had a good time. I was especially surprised at how casual everything was - there was no formal beginning or end, people came and went during the service, and there was definitely no priest-like leader who was directing the proceedings with any firm direction - everything was very open and friendly.
So, a great day from beginning to end, and I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the weekend here.
Leaving our beloved Kfar Hayarok
My travel buddy
View from the train station - they really go for the New York City comparisons... perhaps a bit too obviously
Me in appropriate headwear