MEMBERS of the US university baseball team Lakers, from the Grand Valley University in Michigan, had a unique experience in their recent visit to Cuba and verified the great human quality of the Cuban people.
The US newspaper Detroit Free Press quoted catcher and captain of the Lakers, Jared Cowan, as saying that he arrived in Cuba expecting hostile attitudes.
However, Cowan found a diametrically different reality.
“We were arriving with a created stereotype that the people did not have any rights in Cuba and besides, with expectations to find hostility, but that was completely false to our own eyes. Cubans are very nice and friendly people. I personally felt a lot of companionship when I was there with them,” said Cowan, 24.
To make the friendly dual-meet between the US and a Cuban team concrete, the Lakers’ players had to wait for two years of paperwork because of the criminal US government blockade against Cuba, which prevents US citizens from traveling to the island.
Despite losing the three exhibition games against the Cuban team, the Lakers put their grain of sand in the improvement of the relationships among both nations, pointed out the Detroit Free Press.
The three-game meet brought a result in favour of the Cubans, with final scores of 4-3, 8-5, and 13-5, although the US manager, Steve Lyon, feels he accomplished the objective of increasing the level of his pupils.
“We played against baseball players with a lot of quality. I think that we completed the goal of playing against a higher level than ours,” Lyon said, who stated in Havana to Cuban news agency Prensa Latina that “Cuba is a very beautiful country.”
For his part, Lakers’ relief pitcher Brad Zambron said: “I didn’t think that it would be so pleasant and welcoming for us to visit Cuba. It is madness because I never believed it could be possible to have this opinion of Cubans myself.”
This sport exchange was only the second between universities of Cuba and United States in the last few years, after the visit in 2008 of a team coming from a higher education school from Alabama.