Cape Breton boy’s baseball team heading to Cuba for sport, culture

By T.J. COLELLO, The Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY (5-6 February 2008) – GRADE 9 STUDENT Cody Cameron and his Sherwood Park Education Centre boy’s baseball teammates are preparing for a road trip like no other they’ve been on before.

“Not only about the baseball, but to meet the people there and see their culture,” said Cameron of Sydney. The SPEC team will take part in a Canada-Cuba tour in April. “The baseball, the weather and meeting new people there and having a good trip with friends.”

The team, still fundraising for the trip, will leave April 6 and return April 13.

“We wanted to go on a trip and we decided last year as a team that we would take the returners on a trip this year,” said coach Steve Ranni, joined on the bench by Cory Christie and Chris MacPhee. “We happened to stumble upon this Canada-Cuba tour and they had a tour for baseball.”

The tour isn’t a tournament, as the SPEC club will only play four games against one team. It is, however, a cultural exchange along with sport.

Ranni said the team will be bringing down road hockey equipment and baseball gear to donate. They will also visit a school and donate some school supplies, along with seeing a number of sites in and around the country’s capital of Havana.

“You could play four different teams, but we decided that we wanted to play one because then you really get to know Cuba and get to know some of the Cuban players,” he said. “In the morning, we’re going to train with their coaches and players and possibly some national team players. In the afternoons, we’ll play the games.”

The trip, says Ranni, should be a real eye-opener for many of his players.

“What we’re hoping to do is educate them about another culture through sport,” he said.

“We’re trying to get them to know a little bit more about the world and the opportunities that sport can present to them.

“It’s something that not everyone’s doing and 10 or 20 years from now, hopefully they’ll look back on this and say it was a wonderful experience.”

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