Follow Coach Jake Boss on his Trip to South Africa
Dec. 10, 2013
Michigan State baseball coach Jake Boss Jr., is currently in South Africa on an outreach trip and is providing insight on his experiences throughout his travel.
Dec. 11, 2013
Today was a very busy and productive day. We were back at Goodwood for the second time as I ran two youth clinics and the rest of our team ran an all day soccer clinic. It has roughly 70 kids total, soccer had around 40.
I was a bit surprised at the talent level at my clinics...much better than I had anticipated. It's apparent that they kids had gotten some good coaching in their formative years, now they need to continue to progress so they can take things to the next level.
The people here are so gracious and so thankful to have us here. It's very humbling to say the least. We were trying to go to the Nelson Mandela memorial tonight, but the tickets were gone within minutes of being released. Everywhere you look there is a tribute of some sort to Mandela...he was truly loved by the South African people.
Tomorrow we will do some sightseeing them board a plane for out long journey home. It's been quick, but it's been a great trip!
Dec. 10, 2013
Today was a very busy day for our group. We split up in the morning as my daughter, Abby, and I went to speak to a group of youth from the Bliikisdorp Township, a very poor area riddled with crime, etc. The youth were bussed in and we spoke to them at a local school. The organizer, an amazing man named Mark Moore, then loaded us (along with 12 other youth for a total of 15!) into an SUV and we headed to the Bliikisdorp Township to assist in serving in their version of a soup kitchen. After a brief run in with local law enforcement due to 15 people in the car which led to a "police escort" of sorts to the township, we arrived and set up the chairs/benches in the large tent and waited for the people to arrive. After a short "sermon" by Mark and a prayer, the food was served. A cup of "soup" and 2 pieces of bread for the children (adults got 4 pieces of bread) was the daily allotment of food for these people. Quite a humbling experience watching the smiles of the kids and their gratitude for the food they received even though it was their only meal of the day. We finished the day by speaking to a "professional" team in Cape Town from the Bothasig Baseball Club. The club had one US member who played collegiately at Central Connecticut State, one player who played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and three or four who played for South Africa on their WBC teams. The oldest player there was 29. The team is currently in the midst of their season and has a 10-1 record. I must admit their caliber of play was much better that I had anticipated after watching 10 minutes of practice.
Big day tomorrow with clinics all day, then we pack up and prepare for the long trip home that starts Thursday night.
Dec. 9, 2013
Day two for our group took us to a place called Ocean View about 45 minutes outside Cape Town, to spend the morning with a group of roughly 50 boys and girls organized by a 21 year old "baseballer" named Keifer and his parents. These at-risk youth live in the townships (low income housing) and many come from very disturbing and sad backgrounds. We ran both baseball and soccer clinics and the kids were excited to see us and interact with our group. After a couple hours, we headed to the Goodwood Baseball Academy to conduct a youth practice followed by a coaches clinic for little league coaches. Baseball is still a growing sport, but the passion for the game that the people we met today have lends me to believe that the game will grow quickly!
Dec. 8, 2013
After a long 24 hours of total travel time, we arrived in Cape Town at 10:30 p.m. local time - 3:30 eastern time on Saturday. After clearing customs, etc., we laid our heads down around 2 a.m. for a short night's sleep. Wilby Steenkamp is our gracious host and has room for the seven people in our group. Monday was to be a day we got acclimated, saw some sights, and caught up to the time change. After a solid four hrs sleep, we woke up to listen to the last two minutes of the Big Ten Championship Game on the Spartan Sports Network app. Congrats to Coach D and his team and thank God for technology!
Sunday started with a trip to the top of scenic Table Mountain and a breathtaking view of the city of Cape Town. After a quick lunch on the waterfront, we boarded a ferry boat to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for nearly 20 years. What a powerful place, especially after learning of his passing a few days ago. The country is in the midst of a weeklong celebration of his life, it was an awesome experience to feel like we were a small part of it.
Clinics begin on Monday - both baseball and soccer. Looking forward to making a difference in some people's lives using our faith and sports.
at the official