My trip to Cuba began as any ordinary vacation with friends and family escaping the cold weather and stress of everyday life. However, it quickly turned into an inspiring experience where I met amazing people, developed friendships I will have for the rest of my life, and changed me as a person. The memories I made in Cuba are ones that will last a lifetime.
When we arrived in Cuba, we took a bus to the beautiful resort where we all relaxed and found our way around so we knew important things like how to get from our rooms to the ice cream machine. The beach was beautiful and we had a lot of fun swimming and playing beach volleyball.
On the second day, we drove in a bus to a small community two hours from our hotel to get the ballfield. On our way, we sang songs and laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. When we arrived at the ballfield, we realized it was the wrong field so we had to drive all the way back to the hotel but we were happy because we had more time to sing and dance. Instead of playing a game that day, we had a practice. We took a horse and buggy to a field just down the street from our hotel where a professional coach and two National players ran our practice. That practice was unique, instead of a regular warm up with a jog and stretching; we used the bats to stretch and played games with the balls. There were horses and pigs grazing in the outfield during our practice! When will I ever have that opportunity again? Never!
The next day we had our first game. We met so many amazing people. The field had a view of mountains and the backstop was made of cacti, which was surprisingly very strong and stopped the ball anytime it went back there. It started to sprinkle for a few minutes, which resulted in a beautiful rainbow over the mountains. It looked like someone had painted a picture and I will never forget it.
Our second game took place the next day and that game was against some amazing players. Most of them played on high-level teams and were 17-30 years old. Playing against those phenomenal players made me a better player. We played all the rest of our games against this team and got to know them. We lost most of the games but even though we lost, it taught me so much about Cuba and the people who live there. Their stories were so inspiring to hear.
Because of this trip, I learned how grateful I am for my life and everyone in it. I also learned how much work I need to put in to be a better player and person.