Editor’s Note: As Citizen Journalists we make an effort to highlight the different experiences of people living in the Kentwood and Wyoming area. We teamed up with West Michigan Lutheran High School English students to focus on stories about individuals immigrating to the United States in search of a better life. The following story was written by one of those students giving their perspective of immigration.
For many years, baseball has been referred to as America’s pastime and for good reason. Baseball is played by many ages and nationalities. My experience playing baseball has created a whole new meaning of the game.
Last summer, I had a wonderful opportunity to play with a group of men in the West Michigan Hispanic Baseball League. It is an adult men’s baseball league right here in the greater Grand Rapids area. Teams play games once a week during the summer, enough to enjoy the game without making it too much of a time-consuming commitment.
I soon realized what a great activity this was. Most players were either of Hispanic descent or from a Latino country themselves. It brought me great pleasure to see that the same game I loved so much was also enjoyed by those of different ages and ethnicity. This proved to me that baseball is a sport that connects all Americans together as one people. Although I could not understand much of the Spanish spoken during the game, the language and excitement of baseball itself kept me in the conversation.
Through the other players in the league, I learned a great deal about the game. These men have been playing longer than I have been alive and they were willing to share their knowledge with me. When I was pitching, the umpire gave me pointers frequently while the position players told me batting tips. They understood that there was more to the league than just winning games (although they did that too whenever they played us). Nevertheless, I was greatly influenced by these experienced baseball players.
In a nation that prides itself in multiculturalism, baseball proves as the perfect example. Regardless of race, any child can grow up modeling a major league hero. It is in this sense that baseball brings a sense of community and that is what this league was all about. Everyone shared in the happiness baseball brought to each person. To me there is no doubt that baseball is America’s favorite pastime!