Tuesday, November 17

Playing Baseball till the Cows Come Home

About a month ago Joaquin, one of the brothers in the church, approached Doug about starting a baseball camp for the kids of the area. It didn't take a lot of persuasion to get all our boys interested!

The kids from Boca meet with kids from the local village of Alomito six days a week (two days for each of three age groups). Joaquin played semi-professional baseball for several years and is passionate about the sport. Joaquin's passion for baseball paired with Doug's passion for youth is making quite an impact on these young men!

Jessee prepares to bat while Andrew looks on

The majority of these jovenes come from homes where the father is either absent or totally disinterested in the raising of the children. Along with instruction in baseball, Doug and Joaquin are hoping to instill in these boys a sense of accomplishment, personal responsibility and dependability. It's a big job!

Each day's training session starts with a time of warm-ups and a couple of laps around the cow/baseball field.

Most of the older boys have already been playing baseball for a few years, but have had little or no serious training. The biggest challenges in this group are breaking bad habits and overcoming bad attitudes. However, the men's consistency, along with their baseball ability, is winning the young men over. Even though several of the boys have found themselves running laps because of disrespect or lack of attention, they keep coming back and are improving with every training session -- both in skill and in attitude.

The men also struggle with the lack of equipment. We haven't had any serious injuries, but at least one black eye could have been avoided if we'd had batting helmets which fit all the kids. Of course, if the kids didn't horse around so much, there would probably not be as many fat lips and bruised knuckles, either, but better equipment won't solve that problem! We call that "self-correcting behavior". In the older group, Joaquin and Doug frequently have to tell the pitcher to slow down his pitches, since they don't have catcher's gear.

When Joaquin showed up at practice with a big piece of fishing net and a piece of rope, the younger boys wondered what he was up to. He tied the net into a nearby bush, but still the boys didn't see the purpose.

Only when he lined them up and demonstrated a proper batting stance, did they understand the point of the net. Pretty creative and worked like a charm!

Andrew takes his turn at the batting bush

I don't normally try to upload video, but I wanted to share this. Most of you won't understand what Joaquin is saying to the boys, but you'll definitely understand the boys' response to his demonstration.

The boys were obviously impressed!

Practice ends when the local cowboys herd their cows through the baseball field. That's the signal that the day is ending and it's time to wrap things up!

With the help of Doug's sister and brother-in-law in Oregon, we're making an effort to raise funds and gather equipment (new and used) for all the kids. If you're interested in helping with this project with either a financial contribution or the donation of used equipment, please send us an email at allcreationsings@hotmail.com !

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