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Feild of Dreams

The knowledge I have about baseball is similar to that of every other kid who was born and raised in America. Baseball is our past time. It’s what many summertime memories consist of and it’s the career many young little leaguers dream of pursuing. But as I walked the muggy, dust-filled streets of the Dominican Republic this past summer, I realized the game of baseball is much more than that. To many of the youth in the Dominican Republic baseball is the only hope to a life of freedom; it’s their only escape from their poverty stricken country.
The passion the Dominicans have for baseball is unique. When they get out on that field it really is a field of dreams—the dreams of making life better for themselves and their families. The average income for a Dominican is $6,000 per year. The average salary for baseball players in Major League Baseball (MLB) is in the millions of dollars per year range. Today 1 out of every 5 MLB players is from the Dominican Republic. Needless to say, baseball has truly proven to be an opportunity that has driven the passion for baseball among the Dominican people.
In America we do have passion for the sport of baseball but the passion we have comes on a whole different level. It comes from the pure “love of the game”. This is not to say that the Dominicans don’t have a love for the game, but rather their love and passion for the game is often driven by other factors.
For example, here in America our young baseball players seem to worry about things such as “Can I get my Fantasy Football statistics on my smart phone?”, “What should I set as my Facebook status”, or “Are we going to B-Dubbs after the game?”. However, the concerns of young Dominican players are quite different. In the Dominican they often worry about things like whether or not their family members have made it another day or whether or not dinner will be on the table when they get home. Their passion for baseball is obviously driven by circumstances most Americans do not have to deal with.
The day of many young Dominican boys may begin with work in the fields. It may begin with a list of chores, or it may even begin with work at an AIDS shelter. But rarely does it begin with a bus ride to school. Though daily life may be a struggle, it all contributes to the passion for the dream. The minute they step out on that baseball field is the minute life starts making sense to them. It is their outlet from the daily struggles they face. It truly is their field of dreams.





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