25 January 2013

wanna have a catch?

Were it not for Peace Corps Ethiopia All Star, Anthony Navarrete, I would have completely forgotten about these videos I uploaded while eating Burger King and drinking Egyptian beer at Cairo International Airport. I was in a total travel daze at the time, scrambling to get these puppies uploaded before my final push back to Addis. That being said, it's no surprise that the vapors of memory absconded from whatever portion of my brain in which they were temporarily stored.

Without further adieu, I present to you two separate firsts for two separate pairs of Ethiopians. Video #1 is that of an Ethiopian couple having a catch with an American football for the first time in their lives. He's 95 and she's 80. Video #2 is that of two Ethiopian girls tossing a baseball for the first time in their lives. I don't know their exact ages, but they're definitely not 95 and 80.

I'd like to give a shoutout to my dad for sending the football, and to my dad again, as well as Steve DeTurk, and Todd Pollack for sending along some of the baseball supplies. You guys are helping make really cool things happen.

As many folks know, I do have serious ambitions to share my love of baseball with Ethiopia (football would be way too confusing, since they are all about the real football here). It's going to take a lot of time and effort, but with a little luck, and a little more help from my friends, I think it can actually happen. Another PCV and I have already had preliminary talks about how to move a baseball project forward country-wide, including long-term daydreams of participation in the African Baseball League and the World Baseball Classic. My goal is to get something started in Bekoji before the end of the school year. I currently have 6 gloves (including a catcher's mitt), plenty of baseballs, some field markers to use as bases, and one aluminum bat.

Three more gloves (and ideally some catcher's gear) would make it possible to at least teach people the flow of the game. I brought four of the gloves to the school last week, and the kids are totally into it. In fact, they're so into it that I had to put the gloves away because a huge crowd gathered and they started fighting to get a turn. I will need to hold the sessions on a Saturday, with a small group at the school, to help avoid the chaos. 

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