This past week and the last leg of my journey, I had the honor to be a coach and lead a skills clinic in Hodmezovasarhely, which literally means "Beaver Field Market Place."
The club in Hodmezovasarhely has only been established for three years with an adult team, 11-12 year old team and 13-15 year old team.
The story of how baseball started in this town is pretty neat. It sure is a God story.
The story starts with a young man named Peter and his father, Loushis. Peter begged his dad to take him to Budapest—which is about three hours away—to watch a game of baseball.
Once this happened, it was all over for this family. They became the stereotypical baseball family you would think of here in the states.
Loushis was not a believer at the time, but he wanted his son to have a chance to play this game in their home town. Thinking of different ways to do so, he went to a local church to ask help starting a team and donations to help buy equipment needed for the team.
Through his son wanting to play this game and himself wanting to provide an opportunity, he soon started to build relationships with those people at the church he went to when he needed help.
Soon enough, he gave his life to he Lord, and through his connections at church and his life changes, baseball was soon started in Homezavashaly.
This past Friday night, we worked with the men's team. The team consisted of 12 men. We broke them down in two groups where we worked on infield and outfield drills, and then, we would rotate them. We concluded practice with five hitting stations.
Saturday, in the morning and after noon, we worked with the 13-15 year old team. We had 11 players come out for the skill camp.
We did the same thing with them as we did with the adult players from Friday night.
Saturday evening, we worked on some base running and situational defense, finishing with a game mixed with the players and the five American coaches.
Once we concluded practice, we had a cook out where I was asked to be the cook for the night. That was an experience, to say the least.
After eating, we had a chance to sit down with the players and share the gospel with them. It was as awesome night for sure. Sunday morning, we did the same thing with the adult teams. What better way to have a Sunday morning church service than on a baseball field in the middle of Hungary?
One of the main topics was the idea of life and baseball and how much they relate to each other—how as baseball players, it is so easy to go through a slump. In life, we can have those good and bad times as well. When everything seems to be going well and them, “Bam!”
Who's been there? I am sure you can agree with me on that.
There isn't much to the field in their home town, mostly rocks, 2x2's holding up the fence—which is falling down where balls easily go straight through it—no places for bases, no rubber on the make shift mound, holes in the outfield—the list could go on.
But with all its faults, it was one of the most beautiful sites you could imagine—literally one of the most beautiful baseball fields I have seen.
You may be asking yourself, "How can that be beautiful?"
Well, its simple.
It’s the love of the game.
They know they don't have the best field, but it doesn't matter to them. They play anyway, and they are passionate about the game.
If you want to have a different perspective on a game we all love, while experiencing something that will set your passion for baseball on fire; then please go to Hungary.
The game is beautiful there, but it is because of the people.
This being my third time to Hungary, I can honestly say that it was the most humbling experience I have had there.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Going from a great field and facilities to a place where the fence is falling down and the equipment they use is 10 years old, it makes you feel very humbled and fortunate of where you come from and the things you own.
Do not boast in your things, and do not be prideful. Feel humbled and blessed with the things you do have. This applies in all aspects of life—not only in sports.
I want to thank you personally for following me for the last few weeks across Europe. I hope the columns were a blessing for you and opened your eyes to sports specific missions in Europe.
If you would like more information about Hungary baseball please contact me, I would love to share their story.