During the summer of 2015, I was invited to the Dominican Republic for a vigorous two weeks of intense baseball training. My friend who invited me, Eze, was born in the DR and moved to Minnesota to play on my traveling team. Life is so different down there that I almost didn’t make the full two weeks of training, but I suffered through the last couple days anyways. Throughout my time there, I ran into so many different situations such as playing baseball and trying to communicate with people that have never spoken English, people trying to steal my phone walking down the street, and getting strip searched in an international airport are just a few things. This trip changed my life in a lot of different ways, and I’m a better person because if it.

Each day was very similar to the last because of our routine. We would wake up by 5:30 every morning, breakfast smoothie by 6, to the field by 6:30 and practice until about one every day or until there were too many people too play. What I mean by that is, down there, you only practice if you’re already good because resources are very low supply and high demand. I saw a young boy using a shoe box like a glove so he could play ball. When I saw that, it made me realize that baseball isn’t just a game to these guys, it’s their ticket out. At young ages, trainers tend to stick with the most talented youngsters and stick with them for the long haul until they get drafted. After we practiced we would go home for about two hours, maybe grab some food or take a quick power nap. Then we would walk a couple of miles to the nearby gym where his personal trainer met us and worked out with us. That two-week stretch was easily the most stress my body has ever taken.

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When someone tells you not to use your phone walking down the street at night in the DR, you don’t do it. It was the second night with my friend, and we were walking down the street to a food truck for some dinner. I was on my phone when I he…

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