Wilson varsity baseball and softball players participate in trips abroad to both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. These trips have become an enlightening tradition for athletes, 2018 marking the fourth trip. The student athlete baseball players traveled to the Dominican Republic (DR) on Tuesday February 13, and returned on Sunday February 18. The baseball trip coincides with preseason, giving athletes an opportunity to train before beginning the season. The student athlete softball players will travel to Puerto Rico during the spring break period. The essential idea of the softball trip is to promote and play softball in remote parts of Puerto Rico.
The Dominican Republic trip has become an annual tradition that lasts for six days. The trip takes place in February instead of over spring break due to regular season games against private schools that they can not miss. Junior Zach Lordan will be participating in this trip for his second time. When asked who gets to attend these trips, Zach stated that “returning varsity upperclassmen get to go, and athletes that the coach believes could potentially have a spot on varsity may be invited to attend as well.” An alternative trip for underclassmen is to go to Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. Students/families are responsible for the funds to cover the trip, it is not on the school. How the students decide to come up with this money is up to the them, weather it’s receiving money from parents, or fundraising. Athletes attending are required to fundraise money as a donation to (X) They fundraise by selling baked goods, and by organizing and hosting boosters.
Freshman Jack Wallis was invited to go on the Dominican trip. When asked what they do during the trip, Jack responded “It is preseason. We play against native Dominican teams, and this year we are playing against an orioles prospect team.” One reason that the baseball team goes to the Dominican Republic is because baseball is a huge sport there. There are so many baseball players ranging from developing to pro. Another reason that the team goes to the DR is because “Coach Mac [a wilson baseball coach] used to travel to the DR with the old wilson principle to play baseball with athletes, they later decided that it would be a cool and enlightening experience to bring the baseball team along.” said Zach. Athletes are expected to make up the work they miss, and are exempt from little to no work.
All athletes involved in the softball program at Wilson are eligible to participate in the trip to Puerto Rico that falls over spring break. This opportunity allows wilson softball players to bring softball to girls in remote parts of Puerto Rico, and share their passion of the game with them. They will be bringing equipment to the communities who are less exposed to softball, and may not have all equipment necessary available to them. The team is in hopes of spreading awareness to the girls, while playing with them and having fun. Coincidentally, Puerto Rico has been in a state of devastation, and been damaged due to the latest hurricane that hit. Much of the country was out of power, and facilities were destroyed. A big part of the team’s trip this year is focused towards the cleanup and recovery of Puerto Rico. The team will achieve this by repairing and rebuilding softball fields, as well as lifting spirits.
In preparation for the trip, the athletes worked hard to raise money. Funds were needed not only to pay for tickets, but to raise money for charity, for needed equipment and jerseys, and to allow coaches to assist the team in their travels. The team purchased sets of doughnuts for players to sell at school during STEP, in between classes, and before/after school. An anonymous contributor from the softball team states “Much like the baseball program, the idea of these trips is to give back to less fortunate communities. The thought behind this trip is that we are going to do a lot of charity work especially hurricane clean up while promoting and playing softball!” She also explains that “all the fundraising that we have done so far this year has been to raise money for the trip-as well as for the team in general.” The preparation for this trip goes farther back then a week prior.
The baseball and softball teams go on these trips to train, give back, and have fun. This gives athletes an opportunity to experience other cultures from another country, and form bonds with people their age who they share common interests with; the love of the sport.