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by Valerie Frost
April 1 2000
Some are born leaders, others lead by example, while still others have 
leadership thrust upon THEOrganizer. And that's how I became a team 
captain in the CASC Women's Division.  (As someone who was always picked last 
in the schoolyard for any team sport, the irony of my role in this league is 
not lost on me.)
As the season draws to a close and the Division's four captains - Célyne, Joyce,
Vangie and myself - prepare our teams for the playoffs, I thought I would 
provide some insight into what it means to be Captain.  It's not all glamour 
and glory. 
There's paperwork and protocol, for instance.  How many penalty minutes have
been served by captains who have unwittingly filled in their rosters incorrectly? 
Or, who have forgotten to have waivers signed?  Or, who have committed the worst
known offence in the league - missing a captain's meeting?  (Apparently, we're 
expected to read the rules.)
While I'm on the subject, what distinguishes a rule from a guideline?  I've come 
to discover that the answer to this question lies buried deep in the mind of the 
sometimes brilliant, yet slightly disturbed individual we call THEOrganizer. In
order to enforce the league's rules and guidelines, he has created a multi-layered 
management system that it rivals only big Canadian banks in its depth and 
complexity.  League officials, managers, captains, assistant captains, spouses, 
kids and waitresses are constantly approached for their opinions on pressing 
This structure ensures that no decisions are taken lightly or unilaterally, but
can also result in a twisted game of broken telephone.  A simply query like, 
"Why can't someone be Player of the Week more than once?", can easily get back 
to THEOrganizer through the various channels as: "Valerie demands to know why 
she isn't Player of the Week AND she hates your shoes".
On the personal side, being Captain has changed forever my relationship with one
of my closest friends, who happens to be married to THEOrganizer.  For example,
phone calls are usually intercepted and invariably result in a ball hockey-related 
THEOrganizer: Hello
The Captain: Hi Theo, it's Valerie.  Is Paula there?
THEOrganizer: Valerina! What would you think if the league were to expand?
The Captain: That sounds okay.  Is Paula there?
THEOrganizer: 'Cause I have 24 new teams who want to join and they're all better 
than your team.
The Captain: Whatever.  Can Paula come to the phone?
THEOrganizer: Do you have plans next fall?
The Captain: Why?
THEOrganizer: I thought you could help me get women's ball hockey introduced as 
an Olympic sport.
The Captain: I'll have to think about it.  Can I talk to Paula now?
THEOrganizer: About ball hockey?
The Captain:, actually.
League administration duties aside, there's the added pressure of trying to lead 
your team to victory - or, in our case, to a tie.  Each Thursday night the 
Buddies turn to me with trusting faces for wise counsel and guidance.
With my one solid year of ball hockey experience to draw upon, I oblige, with 
well thought-out, sophisticated strategies designed to compete effectively 
against each opponent: 
When playing the Black Team: "Watch Nellie"
When playing the Mavericks: "Watch Nadine"
When playing the Backdraft: "Watch Jennifer"
"...and, oh yeah, try to get that orange ball into the other team's net."
(Sorry Buddies, hope I'm not giving too much away.)
So that's a glimpse of the life of a CASC Women's Division Captain.  But between 
the ups and downs, the politics and scandals, the sleepless nights and the 
ulcers, we do manage to squeeze in an hour of ball hockey a week - and that's 
what it's all about, baby.