Baseball Canada News

World Children’s Baseball Fair provides an experience of a lifetime

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

OTTAWA-A group of five, 10 and 11 year-old boys from Saskatchewan had the experience of a lifetime in August as they made their way to Fukui, Japan to participate in the 23rd annual World Children’s Baseball Fair.

The group was accompanied by Saskatchewan Baseball President Brian Trollope who had the responsibility of chaperoning the youngsters to Japan that included calming the fears of not only the boys, but their parents as well.

“It was decided that we would meet in Saskatoon before we left, so the kids could have a chance to know each other and so the parents had an opportunity to meet me and give them some comfort level,” explained Trollope. “Only one boy had ever flown before, so part of the experience was learning how to print boarding passes (and things like that).”

Soon Trollope along with boys Kyle, Zander, Brady, Davis and Riley were in the air en route to Vancouver for a quick stop before making the nine hour trip to Tokyo.

Upon arrival, the group was met by organizers of the World Children’s Baseball Fair who showed the boys the dorm rooms they would be staying in for the duration of their stay.

“For the first couple of days I was feeling very sad as I was uncertain as to what I had gotten myself in for,” said camp participant Brady. “I was having difficulty with the different food that we were offered I was tired, weak, extremely hot and a bit homesick.  But, it was not long after that that I was having fun.”

The WCBF brings together over 200 children from 20 countries including Cameroon, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Nepal, Russia and Australia. Through baseball clinics and cultural exchanges players and volunteers bond together and create friendships through baseball.

Once there, the kids were fitted into their brand new uniforms and participated in official opening ceremonies in a big-league venue. The baseball clinics and cultural components of the trip began soon after and the boys quickly found themselves interacting with their new friends even though it was difficult to communicate through language.

“The kids got to know each other and made friends quite quickly” added Trollope. “While we as adults seem to think there will be trouble communicating because of the language barrier, the truth is kids adapt much quicker than adults and friends were formed very quickly.”

On the field, skills and drills were taught by top level baseball instructors from around the world, while off the field experiences included pin trading, learning about different cultures and languages, while also trying new foods.

“I learned how to say ‘one, two, three and hello’ in Japanese,” explained Cory who plays pitcher, catcher and shortstop with the Nipawin Mosquito Giants. “I tried a fish eyeball and there seemed to be lots of different kinds of meats that we ate.”

Other highlights from the cultural component of the trip included a fishing trip, an excursion to the dinosaur museum and a golf day.

All in all, the boys, and their chaperone, were kept busy the entire time they were there which provided a tremendous learning experience for everyone both on and off the baseball field.

Zander, from Regina, took a lot of what he learned back home with him to share with his teammates and friends.

“I learned a lot and I have shared some stuff with the kids I play baseball with,” he said. “I don't know if I am a different kid, but I do share what I did in Japan with all my family and friends and am very proud of all the equipment they gave me.

“Maybe one day I could go back and help out the new kids going (to the WCBF) when I am older.”

After playing a pair of exhibition games, it was time for the kids to pack-up their belongings and say goodbye to their friends who they had just made lasting memories with. It was an emotional experience for many considering it was probably the last time they would see one another.

“I was even more emotional than I was when I said good-bye to my parents,” said Kyle. “The children we met were some pretty good friends who we will probably not see again.”

Asked if he would encourage other kids to attend the World Children’s Baseball fair in the future, Brady did not hesitate when giving his answer.

“I would encourage all other children to attend the WCBF. It was AWSOME!”

“The first thing my mom asked me when I returned home was if I was glad I went or if I regret giving up a week of my summer holidays.

“I didn’t feel like I had given up holidays at all.  I gained a holiday I will never forget”

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