Spartan Baseball Coach Robbie Wilson said it best: “Baseball in the Dominican Republic (D.R.) is a way of life. Many of the young men see it as their hope for reaching their dreams and providing for their families. They train for hours and hours every day in the hopes of being signed by a professional team.”
GAC Varsity Baseball players had the chance of a lifetime this winter: to play baseball with kids from the D.R., getting to know them on their home turf. The D.R. is known for a few things, but its love of baseball cannot be surpassed. Spartans brought equipment to donate to the D.R. players: bats, balls, helmets, gloves, uniforms, hats. They also visited an orphanage, distributed food to a local village, and even made it to the beach one afternoon. They played lots of baseball in between, including games with four different High School teams from the D.R.
Coach Wilson decided to take a team on this mission trip since many of the other GAC Mission trips fall in the middle of their season, so their players cannot participate. The trip was planned to offer the players an opportunity for spiritual growth, team bonding, and service within a community that shares the same love for the game.
“A highlight of the trip was seeing our boys interact with the kids from local villages. I think our players gained a greater appreciation for all the blessings they have. I know the simple love and attention that our players poured into the kids was appreciated. Many of the families we visited had very little. We were blessed to see firsthand the joy they have despite their circumstances,” Coach Wilson said.
From Parker Hallock '21:
The baseball trip to the Dominican Republic was truly an amazing experience. Getting the chance to meet so many children who have so few possessions, yet so much joy and love in their lives, was a good experience. The kids especially love baseball in the D.R., which you can tell by the amount of time they spend playing the sport. They became so happy when given attention and love, and this demonstrates their ability to remain joyful even with their lack of belongings.
Being able to witness their determination and commitment to baseball was truly astonishing. The kids in the D.R. rarely attend school, meaning receiving an education is out of the picture. This leaves baseball as their only route to success, and they never give up on their hope, even when their chances of making it big are small. The baseball skills aren’t all too different in the U.S. from the D.R. The only major difference is the devotion to baseball in the D.R. is much greater than in the U.S. We have many options for our future, but the Dominicans only have baseball and it is evident.
After the trip, I have been able to express emotions that I mainly kept to myself. I have become more considerate of my peers and make every attempt to help others in difficult times. I noticed that the Dominicans not only play ball with no fear, but they also live courageously and do not hesitate to step out of their comfort zones. This had a large impact on me during the trip, and I was able to bring these lessons home with me. I not only grew closer to the team and the kids in the Dominican, but I also saw God working through myself and others. The exhilaration that I received from allowing God’s love to flow through me whet a desire to strengthen my faith and take the extra steps necessary to be closer with God.