La Liga de Beisbol de El Catey
It’s difficult to condense two weeks worth of intercultural experiences into one blog post, so perhaps the best way to explain the past fourteen or so days is with an anology provided to us by Dominican traffic. With the absence of traffic cops, traffic lights, and traffic rules, and with the prevalence of motorcycles, pedestrians, and the occasional car, life on a Dominican road can be interesting to put it mildly. Cars careening past motorcyles in the left lane and mopeds and bikes whipping out of side streets without appearing to even notice cross-traffic are pretty average occurances. Here and there, maybe an occasional donkey or cow just to keep things interesting. To a born-and-raised American like myself, on one hand you feel that there is no possible way that someone doesn’t die at least once a day, but on the other hand you can’t help but think back to the stopped-up highways of the States and wonder why America doesn’t take a hint and do as the Dominicans do, because they seem to be doing just fine. Anyways, suffice it to say that my experience thus far in El Catey has been similar to Dominican traffic. As I’m taking a bus or riding in the Del Corazon van, there are often times when I look at the road ahead and think to myself, “there’s no way this ends up well, there’s not enough road for everyone coming up and no one is slowing down.” Yet just when it seems that two opposing forces are about to collide, somehow everything works out and just enough road is cleared for everyone to pass by unharmed.
This is similar to the way that God has been working in the beginning weeks of the Del Corazon baseball league. There have admittedly been times when things just don’t seem like they’re going to work out: not as many kids sign up as we hoped for, no one shows up to practice on time (cultural differences,) a lack of rain runs the showering water supply thin. But just like my experience on the Dominican roads, just when things seem like they’re about to crash, a little window of opportunity/encouragement/hope opens up. Despite feeling like there’s no way to run an organized practice without older brothers distracting the kids, people showing up in the middle of the game without their jersey and expecting to play, or any other number of common Dominican occurances, God has continually provided us with little glimmers of hope. On Saturday we held our third and fourth games, and it was great to see parents and siblings showing up to watch their children, friends, and brothers play. Motorcyles stopped in the street to watch the ball game, and for the most part we ran an organized game which brought the community together, even if just for a few hours. As I walk the streets of El Catey I commonly hear, “Lucas!” and look to see one of the players in the league smiling and waving. Kids in the community are wearing their team hats during the day, reminding me that they really are excited for this opportuntity. It’s the little things like this that God has used to remind us that despite the hardships, He’s working in this league, even if it’s in seemingly small ways.
So far we have about 70 kids signed up, and we’ve split them into two different age groups. Each age group has two teams that play each other twice a week. The plan is to invite a couple different towns to travel to El Catey with their teams near the end of our time here, just to keep things interesting for the kids (who doesn’t love a little outside competition?) For the most part we’ve been able to traverse the language barrier through practicing our Spanish and lots of hand signals, but the kids are gracious and try their best to understand and learn the game of baseball. God’s definitely at work and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for La Liga de Beisbol de El Catey in the upcoming five weeks!
- Luke Harvey