KENNETCOOK: Fifteen players from the East Hants Corridor and Hants North areas and their families had an experience of a lifetime playing the sport they love in Cuba last month as members of Team Canada on the Canada-Cuba Goodwill baseball tour.
The team of 10 and 11-year-olds consisted of eight players from the Hants North Jays and seven from the East Hants Nationals, with Head Coach Terry White and assistant coaches Paul Miller and Joel Rines.
When they set out to participate in this tour it wasn’t just to play baseball.
“We wanted to show our kids first-hand how fortunate they actually are to live where we do as opposed to those in other parts of the world,” said parent Greg Grant. “This tour was about showing our boys that it is good to help others who are not in as fortunate position as they are.
“We wanted them to see real grass-roots baseball played on facilities not near the caliber of what they play on here, and to play with kids that love baseball as much or more than they do in spite of their lack of facilities and equipment. This tour didn’t disappoint at all.
The team played four games in total, losing everyone of the game in close games, but the outcomes didn’t matter to the players.
“The boys understood that the goodwill aspect was more important, and you could tell by the look on their faces after each game when they exchanged personal gifts with the Cuban Team while their coaches carried out gear-bags full of donated baseball gear (we took 860lbs in total of baseball gear and school supplies combined),” said Grant.
The team travelled from 45 minutes up to almost two hours one way on a bus to get to the fields, playing in a variety of facilities within the city of Metansas, to a small farming community on the outskirts of the city where local livestock kept the field mowed when it wasn’t in use.
“The bus tours allowed the players to fully take in how vastly different the Cuban lifestyle is from ours,” said Grant.
The tour didn’t just include baseball stops, they were also able to visit a local school where they were treated to some snacks, some Cuban entertainment, and a fashion show put on by the students showcasing clothes they had made them self by recycling old clothes.
The final day of the tour was a day spent at the resort with the Cuban team there to spend the day with. They interacted and played together like they had always known each other, and when 30 ten and 11-year-olds get together to play, a language barrier is not an issue.
“This truly was a trip of a lifetime for these boys, they learned lessons and created memories that will be with them for life,” said Grant.
He thanked the community for the support in their fundraising and donations of gear and supplies.