World Baseball Outreach
4950 S Sheridan I Tulsa, OK 74145, USA I Phone: (918) 764-9188
In May, 2009, while I was visiting in Santa Emilia, Nicaragua, one of the young people stood up during a meeting with the community leaders and asked quietly but strongly… “Could you bring some baseball equipment?” “What?” I replied, not sure that I had heard him right. We had been talking about several major community projects that our organization, JustHope, and their community were engaged in together – a clean water project, a clinic project, a housing project – projects that affected the lives of everyone in this critically poor community. This unexpected request for baseball equipment seemed oddly out of place.
“Could you bring us some baseball equipment?” the young man continued. “We have two teams here in Santa Emilia and only a few pieces of old equipment – one ball and one bat and three old gloves.”“Yes, but they play as good as the Yankees!” a community member said smiling broadly. And suddenly the room was alive with conversation and laughter. Just the mention of the baseball teams had raised their spirits.
What I learned was that one of the teams is youth – young people who in the islolated cloud-forest community of coffee pickers, have little to entertain themselves. And the other team is adults – men and women; and the favorite activity of the entire community is the baseball games – even with one ball, one bat and three gloves. Baseball gives the young people a constructive activity and helps avoid delinquency; baseball gives the adults a sense of community and something to engage in that doesn’t require money and resources they don’t have. Baseball gives the whole community a sense of pride. When I returned to Tulsa, I immediately called World Baseball Outreach and asked Jerry for enough equipment to outfit one of the teams. He generously gave me two full bags of equipment and another bag full of uniforms – enough to outfit BOTH teams in Santa Emilia!
I delivered the equipment in July. The entire community turned out to receive the equipment. The young men on the team couldn’t wait to try on the uniforms and test out the equipment. Even though it was dark, they put it all on and gave it a whirl. “We’ll be the champions for sure!” they kept saying!” so excited they could hardly contain themselves. I’m told that one young man slept in his uniform that night. “We never expected this,” the leaders kept repeating… “please tell your donors thank you form the bottom of our hearts!”
So, World Baseball Outreach – THANK YOU! Thank you for the equipment, thank you for the uniforms, thank you for the joy you’ve given to the people of Santa Emilia, Nicaragua!