Each year, the World Children’s Baseball Fair (WCBF) gives the opportunity for teams of five children and a chaperone from countries around the world to learn and play baseball together. The Fair, which was started by two famous baseball players, Sadaharu Oh and Hank Aaron, is hosted in Taiwan and 19 countries participate. The real and most important reason why the Fair is held is so that kids can use baseball as an international language to create important and long-lasting friendships. I was lucky enough to attend the fair, along with a fellow TFK Kid Reporter Gabe Roy. (Click here to read Gabe's story about the trip.)
Each morning we participated in baseball clinics at a stadium. The first thing we did was stretch. Then we would start the lesson. One clinic taught us how to catch a baseball correctly, while another taught us the proper way to pitch. At the end of the day, we would always play a game of baseball. The coaches were supportive and made me feel secure, which I found really helped me play. Some kids were great at hitting or catching, while others didn’t do as well. However, nobody cared as long as you did your best. After the clinics ended, we all shook hands or joked about our blunders. I really enjoyed playing baseball with the other teams and the clinic coaches.
Off the Diamond
Some of the most memorable experiences were when we went on field trips. One of my favorite field trips was when we visited a traditional Taiwanese restaurant. When we arrived at the restaurant, which was built using bamboo, little bowls of paint were set out, and we painted fans and traditional farmer hats. Then we went to another room and used ancient stone grinders to smash rice grains until it produced a thin liquid. Since the grinders were man-powered, we got to grind the rice. It was really fun, but hard work! After an eternity of rice grinding, we made a special tea of nuts, seeds and grains. It gave me the feeling of being a mad scientist.
On August 4, the U.S. team stood in the hostel’s lobby, saying goodbye to our new friends and promising to keep in touch. It was a bittersweet ending to our baseball adventure. As we walked to the bus with our friends, we gave out last-minute hugs and exchanged more business cards. It’s a scene I will never forget, a hopeful moment of the possibility that I will see them again someday. I am sure that all 19 international teams would like to join me in thanking the WCBF for the adventure of a lifetime. Thank you, WCBF, from the bottom of my heart.