Reece Fields, Pitcher
North Greenville University
This trip has been extremely eye opening for me. I had heard stories from previous players of what the Dominican Republic would look like, but I was still shocked when I saw the villages for the first time. They looked run down, the roads were rough, families of 6 or more were living in one or two room homes and I was questioning how people could live in conditions like they were. But as we were walking around the villages we had bags of food and when we would give the people living in the villages a bag, their faces would light up and have the biggest smiles. Each bag contained 15 different items, from coffee to rice to salami, and cost between $10 and $15. And earlier in the trip, while the food was being paid for at Jumbo (Dominican Walmart), Coach Hudak told us that the bags of food could feed a family of 4 for about a week. And when he told us that, I began to think and realize how little the villages here have. But even with how poor some of the villages are, one thing that has stood out throughout this trip is how happy and generous the people are. When we visited orphanages and played against other teams, they were all filled with happiness. At the girls orphanage, the girls immediately ran up to us smiling and asking us to play with them, and at the boys orphanage it was the same and we spent hours playing, talking and connecting with the kids at both the girls and boys orphanages. In all honesty, I’m not sure how I would be feeling if I was in their shoes but they had endless energy and joy from the time we arrived to the time we had to head back to the villa. And when we played against the academies and Dominican summer league teams, they were all super competitive and enjoyed being at the field. Everyone was engaged in the game, both players on the field and in the dugout were cheering each other on and that created an atmosphere that was fun and loud. In the US it’s easy to mentally relax and just flow with the game, but that would never happen here. These experiences have allowed me to grow both spiritually and as a person. I’ve become much more appreciative of the things I have at home and at college, yet I have also realized that I can put less emphasis on the stuff that I have and more on the people that I’m around.