After my first two weeks, it is difficult to put into words my thoughts and emotions. Rather try to put these all these ideas into words, I just tell a couple stories that have kinda captured my last three weeks.
#1: Equipo con las mujeres (Women’s softball team)
One of my main objectives is to be able to use my love of sports to reach women here. Well, I actually got connected with the women’s softball team here. I practiced twice with them and I had my first game today. I think I was more nervous for today’s game than any college game I have ever played. I played third and the first hitter hit a grounder my way and I was able to make the play. In my head, I was like PHEW! So then the second hitter, yep she hit one right through my legs. Of course, all the boys from the baseball site had a good laugh about it. Maybe it was the look of fear on my face, but I think every single person felt it was their duty to tell me how to play. It was kinda got funny. Before every batter, I would have at least two players and three people in the crowd tell me where I should throw it. Oh and I was told to be there at 9:15 because our game was supposed to start at 10. Ha ha ha. Well most of the players on my team did not get there until 10 and the other team did not show up until 12:30. We ended up playing a double header and we got done at 3. So yeah, it was a great day. Next weekend we have a game in the capital (Santo Domingo) which is actually a pretty decent drive. I am so pumped that God opened up this door. I had a girl talk to me after the game who knew I was a Christain and she said, “You know, its just hard being on a softball team. You know, they drink and do a lot of bad stuff.”
#2 Relay Races
Our “girls sports site” takes place in two main locations. We have been really fortunate to have access to a court that is inside in the mornings. We normally work with girls from a nearby school from 9 until 11 and then from 11-12 we scrimmage some kids from the community. The girls from the school range from 4th grade to about 9th grade. In the afternoons from about 1:30-4, we go to a school called Barrio Blanco. At this school we have been working more with younger girls (1st through 4th grade). Okay, so now to my story. It is harder to do a lot of volleyball with the younger kids so we have been trying to come up with gym type games for them to play. So in the morning we did relay races and it ended up working out really well. So we tried doing in with the 1st and 2nd graders in the afternoon. Well, first it took us about 10 minutes just to get them in the lines. Then, I did my best to explain it the same why I explained it in the morning. I meant for one person to go at a time, ya know, and then touch the next person in line, and so forth. So yeah, I go to the other side of the court and when I said GO! I had about 50 girls screaming with excitement all run at same time at me! I am sure the look on my face had to be priceless because I felt so clueless as to what to do from there. Luckily, the librarian saw what was going on and he came out to help.
Lowlights of the past few weeks:
• Feeling clueless of what to do with elementary girls. My experience has been more in coaching high schoolers and college athletes, so second graders is a whole new ball park
• Frustration of not being able to speak Spanish as well I would want.
• HUGE interest of girls in the communities we are working in. We probably have interactions with at least 100 kids each day.
• Many opportunities for the American team here now to share Christ with the girls
• Many opportunities to play sports with people here (for real, they would play all day if I didn’t say I was tired) I seriously wake up every morning thinking to myself, “Is this really happening?” I get to coach volleyball and at the same time share God’s love and truth to kids EVERY SINGLE DAY!
• Having the Bethel volleyball team here. It has been such a blessing to have their expertise and help these past few weeks. They have been huge in helping me run drills and think of games to play with the kids. It has been really nice when I feel so clueless as to how to start a sports site, to have them here to keep me on track.
• Joining the women’s softball team in the community
• Daily devotions that we have been able to share the girls in communities that students international has not been able to reach in the past
• Continued guidance with the site
• My arm- I think I got some sort of tendinitis in my right elbow from playing so much and now after about playing for 30 minutes, I have pain that shoots from my shoulder all the way through my hand. It kills me to not play some days. Or other days, I just play but then it hurts even worse.
• Ideas of how handle the young 1st and 2nd graders (and patience)
• Spanish- continue learning and picking up the language