Today we ramped up our schedules. It’s been a busy day. No time to relax til 7 pm. We did two distinct things today both that were incredible experiences.
First we visited a day care in a neighboring community. You may have an idea of what a day care is and my guess is you would be both right and wrong about this daycare. First, you would be right if you pictured a daycare as having kids that are watched. You would be wrong if you thought of the daycares in the US. This daycare was in a small building, with I am guessing 30 – 40 kids all under the age of 4. You would be right if you picture the reaction of the boys walking in to this daycare with a deer in the headlights look. What are we doing here? You would be wrong if you thought our boys wouldn’t fall in love with these kids. (and the kids fell in love with our boys). I know I probably am not suppose to say it but it almost brought tears to my eyes seeing how our young men were loving these incredible young kids. Playing catch, holding in their arms, sitting on their laps, laughing. Now understand that these kids don’t speak english and our young men don’t really speak spanish. But I am convinced that baseball surpasses any language barrier. But so does love. We just played and loved on these kids. Honestly, if there was a way to bring a few of them home I would. The image of all of our young men each with 1-3 kids around them adoring them is etched in my mind and I hope it has left a mark in these guy who are here this week.
In the afternoon, we played a local team in the D.R. First you have to understand baseball is different here. It’s not travel ball, or a fun weekend activity. For the young player here it is the ONLY way to escape poverty. So they pour their heart, soul, time, and everything they have into being signed. It’s a long discussion but in short they sign with a coach locally. These coaches work with them every day for hours. And if they do get signed they will hand over 20 – 50% of their signings. Anyway, all that to say that these kids are stuck and baseball is their only way out. The side effect is that they are really, really good.
We faced 5 pitchers, all of them through at least an 85 mile per hour fastball, at least one kid has been clocked at 91 mph. So they are throwing gas. They can field, hit, and pitch. But they do have kryponite, they can’t hit a curve. Todd James started and went 5 innings and kept them off balance. Alex Clark pitched 2 innings. And we ended up winning 7-4. Not that it matters, but we did want to be competitive. But more importantly we got to interact with a dozen kids on top of our dugout, hanging out near the fence, trying to sit in our dugout – ages 5-10. Alex Clark shared what Jesus has done in his life. And Joel, our interpreter shared with them about something more important than baseball.
We gave out t-shirts and wrist bands… but to understand it you would have to see the crowd that surrounded us as our young men were handing things out. The young kids want our wristbands, batting gloves, hats, shirts. It was almost hard to leave the field because our guys were surrounded. But it was an incredible experience. Now on to Day 4.