Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.17.03


To hell with all this ****ing snow.

What happened to global warming anyway? I was counting on the icecaps melting by now so I could do some surfcasting in Walpole NH.

Unlike you frozen stiffs, I get a little reprieve starting next week. Once again I will sacrifice my spare time to take college students on a little junket south. After a few years of Costa Rican adventures we have decided to try Belize.

Belize is the only country in Central or South America whose national language is English. This is a good thing for visiting Americans because we can explain to everyone that we are really Canadians.

I'm planning to use some of my high school French to pass myself off as French-Canadian. I figure it will add credibility in case any of those Belizers become skeptical.

How does this sound?

"Mon Dieu, Tabernac, dat Bush is make beeg mess off whole worl, Zut Alors, Quest-ce-que-cest ees problem? We Québécois, we 'ate 'im, eh?"

I plan to teach all the students the Canadian national anthem to sing in the shower and to always ask for vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Each sentence must end in eh? and we'll fake arguments over which bonspiel highlights the nation's best curlers.

It was Prime Minister Jean Chretien's press secretary who called President Bush a "moron" so at least we won't have to fake that opinion.

When we return around the first of April I expect that mud season will be in full swing. And with the mud comes the birth of a new Fossil baseball season.

Richard Bissell, ace fireballer for the Putney Fossils, has been limbering up his 40-year-old arm for the past month or so over in the gym at the college. He's got that fastball up to about 45 mph, which will no doubt have the other teams quaking in fear.

Prominent members of the Fossils baseball club, who had been playing ball on an ad hoc basis for several years, started the Connecticut River Valley Baseball League (CRVBL) for over 30-year-old non-adults. Last year we decided to broadcast a message to all over-the-hill athletes who just refused to join "The girls of summer" mincing around the softball field,

The response was incroyable, as we say in Quebec. Three teams joined the Fossils for our inaugural season.

Brattleboro fielded a team, as did C&S and Saxton's River. The only team that was regularly trounced was Brattleboro. Their lack of success was put down to the fact that they never got around to buying uniforms and always resembled a squad of earthquake victims.

Saxton's River really looked the part. They were made up of the dregs of the old Saxton's River Pirates, beefy lads with an attitude. At least we think it was an attitude; maybe they were just shy and sat in the dugout sharpening their spikes to avoid conversation.

Finally C&S came up with a team. We all laughed and made snappy comments about the "grocery clerks" baseball team. When they dropped a ball we would suggest to them that they should use a grocery bag, then holler paper or plastic? at every subsequent error.

These things have a way of coming back to haunt you, though. The grocery boys got better and better, thanks to a mid-season import from who knows where. All of sudden they found a guy who could pitch really well.

How unfair. After all the insults they probably shopped in to the same grocery store where the Rams found Kurt Warner and picked up a bag boy with an arm like a leg.

They beat us in the playoffs and made the pirates walk the plank in the final. No more grocery jokes this year.

We start the season in mid-April and one more team has joined the fray. If you are a has-been ball player or even a never-was and you are currently cranked by in your La-Z-boy picking pork rinds out of your navel, you can still join a team.

Give Richard Bissell a call at 802-387-4587.

If you've never experienced a ruptured hamstring, now's your chance.

Play Ball!