The past 2020 Cuba trip was whirlwind in a way. The ups and downs but the many laughs we had. The jokes and memories we have created and the forever bond we will have with the fellow Cuban team. The Cuba Goodwill tour is about giving the chance for us Canadians to play softball against another country and seeing how there lives are so different then ours and that is what really has changed me this trip.
The first day we "played" we got to explore the city of Hologuin. The beautiful mountains were amazing to see but the thing that caught everyone's eye was how people lived. The houses were small and old looking they had big, bold, bright, colors which is not something you would see everyday here. Inside the houses were well kept and clean. The different style of living was drastically different then what we live like here. The hard working, kind, souls always kept a positive attitude and a amazing out look on life when they are in the toughest times.
The next thing that had a big impact on me was the amount of effort put in by the Cuban National team to get where they are right now. We complain about putting in a little extra work when catching a couple more ground balls but they catch and throw up to 1000 softballs a day. The substantial drive in there heads is crazy and seeing how much they want it. I loved how much they would joke around with there teammates and there loving bond for one another. There throwing was precise and the way it perfectly and gracefully slipped off there fingers and hit there target was crazy. Thats what happens when you practice non-stop. We then were treated like one of the National team players by having the choice to climb the 426 stairs. At first I wasn't gonna do it, but then Brooklyn and i were motivated to climb them. It was like the ripple affect once one person started we all had to join in. Once i got back up to the top my knees felt like they were gonna collapse.The National team players were put threw hard core training going up then down that everyday to build up there strength and help with practicing breathing when put threw hard training (sometimes they would have to do it twice.)
The community we played in was small but there was so many little kids. Some children would walk 5km to come watch us play. They couldn't afford shoes to put on there feet so we graciously donated shoes, clothing, and school supplies to them. They were like Piranhas trying to collect the stuff.
This trip showed me how lucky and fortunate I am and that i should respect every little thing i have. It really put in perspective how lucky we are to have the government we have, the food we have, the ball gear we have, the clothes and essentials we have, and most of all the team mates and family we have.