The recent softball trip to Cuba was truly a changing experience for me. It opened my eyes and made really think about how fortunate I am for all my opportunities.
The first day we got on the bus at around eight in the morning to go play a game in a village called Tacajo. Although the other team didn't show up, the organizer for the Goodwill Tour Dennis held a practice just five minutes away from the resort with the former national team coach. We rode in horse and buggies to the practice. The field was in poor condition; however, we learned how the Cuban girls practice and how important communication is on the field.
The next afternoon, we played our first game in an even smaller village closer to our resort. My first impression was that it was breathtaking. Mountains in the background, a cacti backstop and dugouts made from grass and logs. The whole village came to watch our four games here. The first game was an easier game with some kids our age. The next three games were a bit more intense, playing against former national team players. Against this national team group, we lost the first game and third game, but we tied the second game that eventually ended in a loss in extra innings. Altogether this was my favorite softball moment ever. Before the final game of the week, we went to a mountain with a view of the city of Holguin. Here were stairs that the national coach had talked to us about. There was over 400 steps and the national team would run them all the time for practice. Most of our team did them and we all were exhausted at the end. After our last game, our Canadian team gave the Cuban players our cleats, helmets, and other softball equipment. Our team and families also donated more softball equipment to the players and school supplies to the children in the village we were playing in. It meant a lot to do that because it isn't easy for them to get equipment like we can here in Canada. They seemed to truly appreciate our gesture.
Later that night, we had a huge dinner at the resort with two of the Cuban National team players: Geidys and Yumey, one of their dads and Dennis. Coach Rob, Dennis and both girls all did very touching speeches. After dinner, we danced on stage a bit and taught the girls how to do tiktok dances. Before they left, we all jumped in the pool with our clothes on and danced on the beach. It was one of my favorite nights at the resort.
The day we left was very sad, we really learned a lot in such a short period of time, and I will never take anything for granted from now on.