Remember all those times you played ball on a lush green field, groomed to perfection. The grass was the perfect green color, recently cut. The infield was raked, and the chalk lines were newly placed.
Now, how would you feel if we took away all the grass, including the outfield? Wouldn’t look as good, right? Same thing with the chalk lines, gone. Want a raked field? You don’t have a rake.
You might be saying, “Well, at least we can still play”. But now I want to take away even more. Imagine that you don’t even have a glove, a bat, a ball. Can you play ball now? Without that equipment, you can’t.
That is exactly the challenge that Nicaraguan ballplayers face. With Nicaragua being the 2nd poorest country in the western hemisphere (behind only Haiti), Nicaraguans have a very hard time finding baseball equipment. A lot of times, it’s even hard to find good coaches, so players have a hard time understanding the game.
“Many challenges face baseball players in Nicaragua. Much like my family growing up, many families lack the resources and money for their children to play baseball. Teams of all levels struggle to afford basic equipment, let alone good equipment. Because the pay is so little, it is hard to find good coaches, leaving players with a limited understanding of the game. Many young players don’t know how to hit cutoff men, keep the double play in order, or move runners over offensively. All of these problems perpetuate each other, making it very difficult for Nicaraguan players to find success in baseball.”
– Marvin Benard
Beyond Baseball: Rounding First is a story of a former college baseball pitcher, Daniel Venn, in his two week trip to Nicaragua. Daniel had been living his normal life, when one day this past February he was called and invited to go to the country. With only a few days to prepare, he accepted the invitation.
Craig Severtson is the person who called Daniel. Craig founded the non-profit organization, Helping Kids Round First, which sends baseball and softball equipment to the poorer areas of Nicaragua. Having been there before, Craig wanted to start helping the children who had a hard time finding good equipment. Starting out with just him and a suitcase, he started to make regular trips to help the community. After going back and forth for a little while, he invited his friend Jay, and the two helped to begin Helping Kids Round First.
“I asked myself ‘what should I do with my life now?’ a few years back. I could be sitting on a beach, and I don’t blame people who choose to do that, they earned it. But, I would rather come to Nicaragua and do what I think is important.”
– Craig Severtson
Helping Kids Round First started out with sending baseball equipment, but have branched out to many different areas of living in Nicaragua. Along with baseball, the organization has gone into softball, farming, and hospital equipment in efforts to help Nicaraguans in almost every part of their lives.
In this episode of Ground Rule Triple Radio, I get the opportunity to talk to the author of Beyond Baseball: Rounding First, Daniel Venn. We discuss the non-profit Helping Kids Round First, and even touch on PEDs. You can find the podcast and Daniel’s contact information below!
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To find out more about Daniel Venn, visit his site at danvenn.com.