Langley baseball ambassadors honoured

The Langley baseball team that travelled to Uganda as an ambassador was honoured with a Governor General's Cariung Canadian award on Monday.

Governor-General David Johnston was in Langley on Monday afternoon, to formally recognize the Langley Little League team which went to Uganda last year to play an exhibition series against a Ugandan team that was unable to take part on the Little League World Series in 2011.

The team received a “Caring Canadian” award, as did Ruth Hoffman of Vancouver, who played a key role in raising funds and awareness so that the Langley team could make the trip.

For those who have not yet seen it, I highly recommend the TV documentary ‘Fair Ball,” produced and shown by Sportsnet. This is the web link to that show —

The TV documentary was a powerful message about the differences in living conditions between Canada and Uganda, and how a love of baseball allowed kids from both countries to meet as equals on the field, and build friendships and mutual respect for one another.

The Ugandan team was the first from Africa to qualify to play at the Little League World Series, which is played each year in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. However, team members were unable to get visas to enter the U.S., likely because it was difficult for some of them to provide complete personal information. The U.S. is very vigilant about who enters their country, and that vigilance, while necessary, keeps some worthy people, like these young ball players, out.

The Langley team, which had also qualified to go to Williamsport, was scheduled to play the Ugandans there. As they couldn’t do so in the U.S., a fundraising drive to make the match happen started upon their return home. Hoffman was a key part of that, enlisting the “Right to Play” organization. Sportsnet chipped in as well, as did Sportsnet baseball analyst and former major leaguer Gregg Zaun.

Many Langley residents pitched in and contributed to this drive, which allowed the Langley Little Leaguers to travel to Uganda in January, 2012 to play their long-delayed games.

The documentary showed what an eye-opener it was for the Canadian team members to visit the African country, and find out how kids their age live each day.

While their baseball field was nothing like the fine fields provided in Langley, they were very usable and the teams had some great games there.

Baseball, like all sports, offers many opportunities. It’s a relatively simple game and doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment. It can easily be taken up by people in countries with fewer resources than Canada. Soccer is much the same.

Proof of how baseball can change lives can be seen in many countries. The Dominican Republic may be the best example. It is a poor country, but baseball is huge and some of Major League Baseball’s best players come from there.

It may well be that a Ugandan ball player makes it to the majors one day. But even if that’s a ways away, the Langley team has proven baseball can bridge cultural divides.

Just Posted

Have you seen Peter Webb?

Fifty-two-year-old man reported missing by family who last saw him July 9

UPDATE: 14-year-old pilot sets Guinness World Record at Langley airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab believes he is now the youngest pilot with the fewest hours logged to fly solo

Plenty of heroes in Thai cave rescue, says Langley diver

Erik Brown reflects on team effort that brought 12 boys and their coach to safety

Elvis sighted in Aldergrove

Live concerts set for Langley Cruise-In on Sept. 8

Township announces new Korean War memorial

A memorial stone from South Korea’s Gapyeong region will be installed at Derek Doubleday Arboretum

BC Games: Dance, spoken-word highlights at Opening Ceremony in Cowichan

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

B.C. city wants pot punted from farmland

Concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Abbotsford’s Besse sisters: Vaulting to greatness at Summer Games

Local siblings heading to Cowichan to compete in equestrian

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Most Read