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 KIDS CORNER - Essay excerpts from WCBF participants

2008 WCBF AICHI
2007 WCBF PUERTO RICO
2006 WCBF HOKKAIDO JAPAN
2005 WCBF MAEBASHI/GUNMA JAPAN
2004 WCBF HYOGO JAPAN
2003 WCBF YAMAGUCHI JAPAN
2002 WCBF WAKAYAMA JAPAN
1998 WCBF SHIZUOKA JAPAN


 Jack Donnelly, USA (Cooperstown NY), age 11
At the World Children's Baseball Fair or WCBF we had clinics at a nice park, it was fun! I would like to first thank you for letting me have this opportunity, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I will never ever forget it. Second thank you for the dormatory and the great refreshments, please tell all the staff the USA thanks them and tell the cafeteria people a very special thanks.

The clinics were amazing, you hired great coaches. I like Greg, Angel, Justine and Edgar the best. I learned how to turn a double-play and hit from Coach Edgar. I learned how to live life to the fullest from Coach Greg and Coach Angel. I learned how to pitch from Coach Justine.

The things I enjoyed the most were the opening and closing ceremonies, the field trips and parties. My favorite ceremony was the opening ceremony because I knew I still had a long time in Japan. The worst was the closing ceremony because we had to leave Japan. My favorite field trip was to Nagoya Castle because I learned a lot about old times there.

Thank you,
Jack Donnelly
Brian Pecot, USA (Raleigh NC), age 11
My favorite thing was the cultural events the experience was great. At my school, we learned a Japanese traditional dance in physical education class. I never thought I would do it again. But we had the chance to at a few of the cultural events, and I remembered all the steps. Another favorite event was visiting the Toyota museum and the factory headquarters. There were a lot of interesting things to learn about and some really cool cars.

Playing baseball was also very fun; I learned a lot about pitching, throwing, and hitting. All the coaches helped us to be better players and kept us laughing. The sliding clinic and daily baseball games were the best.

Meeting people from other countries was interesting and fun. I met a lot of people that I hope to talk to again in the future! I also enjoyed the food in the cafeteria it was all very good. Thanks to the WCBF for everything!
 Indigo Pelligrini de Paur, USA (Bronx NY), age 10
One of my favorite parts of the WCBF was the baseball and the cultural events. It was a great experience. I got to meet some really great coaches and I think I really improved my baseball skills a lot. I also expanded my interest in trying new foods from different cultures and countries.

It was fun to see all the different children from different countries and to learn more about them. I enjoyed meeting people from all around the world. The cultural events were also a lot of fun to go to, we got to try new food, watch the performances and the dancing. We also learned traditional Japanese dance and tried our best to master all the steps. I thank everyone for the effort that everyone put into this.

I really like going to the Toyota car museum and Nagoya Castle. I enjoyed learning about the history of the castle, the people who lived in it, and to see the weapons used long ago. It was very interesting to learn some new languages, many people did not speak English but it was fun trying to communicate with them.

But my most favorite part of this trip was that I got to have a once in a lifetime experience. Thank you everyone for giving me this opportunity, I will remember it for the rest of my life. I was honored to participate in the 19th World Children's Baseball Fair.
Ethan Taulman, USA (Apex NC), age 11
It all started out with getting everything that you would need to play baseball. You got stuff like a helmet, a bat, a glove and a pair of cleats all from Mizuno.

The clinics all started out everyday with stretches from the legs to the head. We ran in the first station and we pitched in the second. I know that I learned a lot of stuff that will make me a better pitcher. The station that helped me the most on was the soft toss station on day two. I learned to keep my legs straight so I will hit the ball farther and harder. The last station of day three was the sliding station, I thought I already new how to slide but not the right way.

The cultural events were fun. We got to see Nagoya Castle, the Toyota museum and we learned some dance.
Thank you for letting me have this opportunity.
Jasmine Warren, USA (Springfield MA), age 10
Each day at the clinics, we travled to stations and learned different things like hitting, catching and at the last station each day we would play a game of baseball and practice what we learned. At the end of the clinics we would eat a Japanese lunch.

After lunch, we would go to a different place each day to learn about Japan's culture. We learned Japanese dance, we visited Nagoya Castle and went to a mini Japanese festival just for the WBCF. My favorite thing that I did was going to Nagoya Castle. That was really fun, I loved seeing what they wore in the 15 hundreds.

Thank you WCBF for letting me have the chance to go to Japan to meet kids from all over the world and to play baseball with them. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

 


Essay by Masaaki Tawhiwhirangi, New Zealand, age 11




 Maggie Hall,  2007 WCBF PUERTO RICO, USA 3 (Cooperstown NY) age 11
My experience to go to Puerto Rico was the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me!!! I had some very hard times being homesick during the eight days that we were in Puerto Rico, but with the support from the Chaperones, Assistant Coaches and the kids I was able to adjust and have a fantastic time!!! I never
thought that I would get this great opportunity. I would like to thank The Baseball Hall of Fame for supporting my trip to Puerto Rico. Some of my favorite things during the week were going to the Botanical Gardens, going to the water parks, getting to meet kids from around the world, and just getting to play the sport I love and the sport I will always love.
Matthew Daichi Lee, 2007 WCBF PUERTO RICO, USA 2 (Fountain Valley CA) age 11 -
I had a great time in WCBF in Puerto Rico. It was a very exciting and fun experience for me because I made so many friends from around the world. The baseball clinic was also very fun and I learned the five points in pitching, sliding and fielding. The opening ceremony was awesome since they played different national anthem from all the different countries and Mr. Hank Aaron and Mr. Choji Murata were there to meet us. I exchanged phone numbers and email addresses with many friends and I already received a mail from Kengo from Japan. Australians were funny since they taught me to say "oye" and I became good friends with Dylan. I also helped my American teammates to speak to the Japanese players since I can speak Japanese too. I also became good friends with Raoul from Cameroon. The Canadians, Daryl and Thomas became my friends too. And my teammates from the U.S. were all nice. I hope one day I can see them again.
 Alex Griffiths, 2007 WCBF PUERTO RICO, Australia (NSW) age 11 - We left Sydney on Sunday 29 July and over 24 hours later we arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We were delayed because of bad weather at Dallas Fort Worth Airport. It was bucketing down and the team and I waited on the plane on the tarmac for little under two hours. We watched Blades of Glory and started watching another movie but I wasn’t paying much attention by then. We were very tired. When we arrived at San Juan airport it was two o’clock Monday morning. From the airport we traveled to our accommodation at the Albergue Olimpico with the fifteen USA kids who arrived at the same time. Within forty five minutes we arrived at the Albergue Olimpico and then slept like rocks until eight thirty later that day. Once awake we dawdled to the mess hall for some breakfast. On the second day all the countries (including Australia) attended an opening ceremony. There we received our gear. This consisted (among other things) of : a batting helmet, glove (a really good one!), bat, pair of shorts and baseball pants, baseball playing shirt, baseball bag (pink), boots, 4 plain white T-shirts (now dirty) and 1 pair of socks.
The clinics taught us fielding, base running, catching and pitching and we would do four clinics a day. At the end of each day we would play a game with our group of 15 split into two. Some days we would play kick ball which was fun. On the second last day we did one clinic and then played games after lunch.
We did the clinics on a number of different fields throughout Puerto Rico. One was Roberto Clemente stadium where the opening ceremony was held. Hank Aaron attended the opening ceremony – this was just before his home run record was equaled by Barry Bonds. I don’t have any photos of the clinics yet but hope to get some from Scott. We also went to Paquito Montanel Stadium in Ponce (pronounced Ponsay) and Idelfonso Sola Morales Baseball Park in Caguas. Another field I don’t know where it was but on this day we had rice and beans for lunch and tea and for the next two days. We did a little sightseeing around Puerto Rico. Parque de Bombas is the fire station, not the baseball stadium my Mum thought it was.
One night all the kids had to do a small performance for everybody. We did the Aussie harka. We left San Juan on Monday 6 August. We had a long flight back via New York but most of us managed ok. We landed in Sydney on Wednesday morning. I was alright until about eleven o’clock [AM]. I was finally ready to crash at that point. I would like to thank the ABF and Baseball NSW for giving me the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico. I had a great time and met a lot of kids from other countries.
 Paul Klassen, 2007 WCBF PUERTO RICO, Canada, age 10 - I would like to thank you for giving me the chance to go to the WCBF in Puerto Rico. I was proud to represent Canada. I am very thankful that I was able to go on this amazing trip and for the generosity of your organization making this opportunity possible for me. Thank you for all the equipment which you gave me. I am wearing my shirts with pride! Your kindness will never be forgotten.   The trip was even more wonderful than I expected. The plane rides were long but fun. Puerto Rico is an amazing country. It was great to meet many wonderful new people from around the world and make new friends. I enjoyed traveling to all of the different baseball fields. The WCBF coaches are awesome! My baseball skills really improved! I was able to meet legend Hank Aaron. I saw many beautiful places, an ocean, and even fed fish! I am proud that I had this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you.
 David Vohanka, 2007 WCBF PUERTO RICO, Czech Republic (Prague) age 11 - I will never forget the WCBF, the wonderful week in Puerto Rico including the Puerto Rican food, the whole staff and all the people making everything possible. It was a lot of fun and wonderful experience and I found there also a lot of new friends from the whole world. Thank you very much for everything and may we meet us again on the baseball field somewhere in the world or at the “Olympics”.
 Shogo Kato, 2007 WCBF PUERTO RICO, Japan 4 (Kyoto), age 10 - (translation) At the place I stayed, I met kids from Puerto Rico [and other countries] for the first time. I gave them my name card and also ninja stars and cranes that I brought as souvenirs from Japan. At the day of practice, they waived at me and helped me look for my bat when I was looking for it. That night, we had a pillow fight. I still remember how I got to make such good friends. The 10 days in Puerto Rico were great!!!
 Jason Nemerovski, 2007 WCBF PUERTO RICO, USA 2 (San Francisco, CA), age 11 -
When I was in Puerto Rico doing the WBCF I had a great time. Everybody was really nice and I made a lot of friends from many different countries. We met retired baseball players from Puerto Rico including one who was over 100 years old! He took a really long time singing his autograph on my Baseball. Meeting all of the kids from all around the world was awesome. They were all very nice to me and I taught the Japanese kids how to speak some English and they taught me some Japanese.
Some of the kids were really good at Baseball. And the kids who didn't have much experience learned a lot and got a lot better as the week was getting to the end.  It was fun to trade gifts and personal contact cards so we could stay in touch after (Hank Aaron kept encouraging us to hand them around.) I'm already contacting friends I made in Puerto Rico but especially a kid from Australia. We trade email messages around the world.
 
 Corey Bonilla, 2006 WCBF HOKKAIDO, USA (New York), age 10
It was a pleasure to participate in the 17th Annual World Children Baseball Fair in Hokkaido, Japan. I was one of five participants from the U.S.A. We flew with our easy going chaperone Jeff Lye from New York to Tokyo (13 hours).  After spending the night at the hotel at Narita we took a 16 hour train ride to Sapporo. We were issued baseball equipments, such as gloves, bats, spikes and uniforms. During the WCBF I met kids from many different countries around the world. There were children from every continent except Antarctica - from Africa to Australia. It was kind of amazing how even though we did not always speak the same languages we still managed to learn and play together.  The love of baseball was our common bond. Playing the games brought us closer together.
Every morning we would have baseball clinics from 9.00 am to 11.30 am then we were separated into two teams and we played a game until noon. At the baseball clinics we learned the basics of baseball. We were taught bunting, pitching, hitting, double plays, game situations, base running, throwing, receiving, sliding and a few other topics. The coaches were all very knowledgeable and very patient with us. Mr. George Santiago was the head coach. The other coaches were Greg, Jorge, Rene, Yoshi Uchikawa, Koji Sato, Shoji Saito, Mike, Justine was the only female coach. My dad Angel was also a coach. I know how proud he is of being able to say that he that he has taught every child that has ever attended the WCBF.  After the clinics we attended cultural events - Maruyama Zoo, Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, the Hokkai Naruko Festival, the Historical Village of Hokkaido, Eniwadake Drum, Science Expo '06, Nanazu Dance, the Sapporo Dome, we made and flew kites. Don't forget the Welcome Party, Fireworks night (which unfortunately I fell asleep on) and the Goodwill party where all the participants gathered to say goodbye before departing. My favorite event was watching the karate exercises and their many different moves. This was a great learning experience that no one can take away from me and I would like to thank Dr. Akiko Agishi and the WCBF for inviting me. I am very sorry that Mr. Oh was not able to attend since I was looking forward to meeting him. I hope he is feeling better.
 
 Teddy Minaya, age 11 - WCBF 2005 Maebashi Participant, USA

My time at the WCBF was a very good experience.  It was a once in a lifetime chance and it was. My favorite part about it was making friends with kids from around the world.  The flight to Japan was long but it was worth it.  Once I got there I was like “Wow I never thought I would make it here”.  The opening ceremony was good, but I was still homesick and then we went to a drumming place where we got to do the drums that was when I
started to have fun.  Then the next day when we went to a festival, I had a lot of good food and even got some gifts.  The next day was the best day for baseball it wasn’t that hot and I hit a home run, after that we went to a water park and had a great time at the waterslides.  The day after that we got to see a Japanese supermarket and a dollar store.  We also had a good will party and I ate 5 slices of pizza.  The last day was very sad we played games all day and had a goodbye ceremony, then we woke up at 6 in the morning to leave and said goodbye to all our friends.  We took a ten hour flight home and was happy to be home.  That was my experience at wcbf and I will never forget it and will always be grateful for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Francis Yeung, age 10 - WCBF 2005 Maebashi Participant, Hong Kong
Hello I am the Hong Kong participant of the 2005 Gunma WCBF.  I learn a lot of things about baseball and meet children of the same age from different countries.  Thank you to my caretaker Nancy who takes care of me and my team. It is a fantastic and unforgettable experience for me.  I can learn the skills of baseball and understand the culture of Japan.  If there is a chance I will come back to visit Japan and Gunma Prefecture again.
 
Yuhta Betsui - WCBF 2004 Hyogo Participant, Japan

Dear Sadaharu Oh, How are you?  It has been a month since (WCBF). I’ve been practicing baseball
according to what you have taught me.  I enjoyed the 9 days with new friends. If there
is another opportunity like this, I would like to take part in it.  Thank you very much. I will
keep precious memory and baseball supplies you gave us long.


Bintang Ramadhan Sugito - WCBF 2004 Hyogo Participant, Indonesia

What did you enjoy most?
I really enjoyed playing the ballgame everyday, sleeping on the floor and trading many things with the people around the world.

Have you learned something useful at the baseball clinic?
Very useful!  I learned how to be a ss and a pitcher. I learned how to be in the right place to be a ss.

What is the most unforgettable memory of the clinic?
I will never forget the yell which the IBAF coaches told us, "It's a great day for baseball, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the bats are juming in the racks - Let's go get them!"


Raina Taitingfong - WCBF 2004 Hyogo Participant, Guam

What did you enjoy most?
I can't really choose one.  It is very very difficult.  Because I enjoyed everything.  Everywhere we went I had fun. I was also surprised.

Have you learned something useful at the baseball clinic?
A lot.  I used to be scared of the ball. But the clinics [taught] me to try and overcome my fear of getting hit by the ball.
 

Michelle Tallon - WCBF 2004 Hyogo Participant, Australia

What is the most impressive program of the fair?
The baseball clinics were the most impressive program because they taught me to play baseball correctly while having fun, and making new friends.

What did you enjoy most?
I enjoyed sliding the most because you got cooled off and it was different to the to the other clinics at the fair.

Have you learned something useful at the baseball clinic?
I learnt that there is no lift to stardom. You have to take it one step at a time.



Pete McDonough - WCBF 2004 Hyogo Participant, New Zealand

Thank you so much for all the hard work that you did in creating this year's WCBF. I enjoyed it very much and feel honoured to have participated.  I take pride in telling all my friends at school what a great time I had at the Fair!

I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the Japanese culture and meeting kids from all over Japan. It was also fantastic meeting kids from all over the world.

And special thanks for the generous gift of new baseball equipment. I can't wait to use in the coming season here in New Zealand.

Thank you!

Pete McDonough


GeenaMarie Bonilla - WCBF 2004 Hyogo Participant, USA

I would like to thank you and the WCBF for allowing me to go to Japan to play baseball. I enjoyed the trip very much. It was definitely a once on a lifetime trip that has changed my life. I use to be shy around new people and people that were different than me. I now know that even if it is hard to communicate with others that we are all the same – just kids that like to have fun!

I met many new friends from all over the world. I have written my friends from Costa Rica, Australia and Siapan. I plan to keep in touch with them for a long time and maybe one day go visit their countries and have them come to the USA to my home.

My biggest love is for baseball and I learn so much in Japan from the coaches. Coach Valcke (Gummy Worms) was my favorite and I learned a lot from him. The sliding clinic was great and I improved my slide to perfection! I brought these skills back from Japan and played baseball in a fall league. I was able to play shortstop and I feel that it was because of all the things I learned in Japan.

I liked seeing all the places in Japan and experiencing their traditions. I really liked seeing the Earthquake Museum, although I felt sad. The roller coaster was super cool. I thought that the watermelon smashing game was the funniest thing I have ever seen. Walking across the longest bridge in the world was my favorite outing. Everything was so new and exciting to see.

In the closing ceremonies, I was able to speak during the presentation. I was so nervous and could barely get all the words out. After I did it, I realized that it wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be. When I got back to school, I had to do a presentation to the school and I was able to think about how I felt after I spoke in Japan. I was able to do it and not feel nervous. I got an A on the presentation.

I had a wonderful trip that I will never forget. Everyone in Japan was so nice to me even people that were not part of WCBF. I would like to personally thank everyone that made it possible for me to go to Japan and be part of the World Children’s Baseball Fair. You have made a difference in my life in so many ways.

GeenaMarie Bonilla, USA


Alex Barnes - WCBF 2004 Hyogo Participant, USA
When I was in Japan, I made lots of friends from differennt countries like I had hoped. I ate different foods.  The food was very different in taste from America. WCBF had a buffet style cafeteria. When I was there I met lots of friends and
they were Jesse and his group from Sipan and Mike with his group from Astralia. I also met Shota and Shohie from Japan. They were in the same room as me and had the same lunch schedule. I am not in contact with any kids but Shota sent me a letter. It was really cool because he sent it to me with a Japanese copy and an English copy. After I went to Japan, I learned to play baseball a lot better than I could before the trip. I also learned to get along better with my friends. If you ever have the chance to go to Japan, I think you would love it and want to do it again real soon. Japan is a great place.    Sincerely, Alex Barnes
 
 Ken Tewell - WCBF 2003 Yamaguchi Participant, USA
My Best Summer Ever

Let me tell you about a great experience I had this summer. I participated in the 14th Annual World Children's Baseball Fair in Yamaguchi, Japan. I had been to Japan before, but this was the first time to go on my own, without my mother or father. I left Los Angeles with four kids from USA and a very nice chaperon named Deb. We flew to Tokyo, and then to Yamaguchi. There, at our dormitory complex, were 173 kids from all around the world.

I made many friends at the Fair, including some from as far away as Australia and Nicaragua. We attended a baseball skills clinic almost every day. They were nicely organized and fun. I learned some new things about baseball.  After the clinics finished, we participated in many fun cultural exchange events. These were some of my favorite experiences. We went to a fireworks festival, an aquarium, and a cave. We always had the chance to be with lots of kids from all over the world.

Living in the dormitory was a new experience for me but I really enjoyed it. The food at the dormitory cafeteria was very good. In fact, it was so good that took a picture of my last meal! It was buffet style and you could chose from lots of good food.

The Fair was the best experience I have ever had. It was really fun making friends with kids from different countries. I wish I could go back every year. If you have the chance to go, you will REALLY have a great time.

Thank you to all of the volunteers, especially Seiya and Deb. They were really good to us and we enjoyed them.
Ken Tewell, age 10, USA

Molly Pearlman - WCBF 2003 Yamaguchi Participant, US
My Essay -   Japan is a lot different from the USA. When I got home I automatically took my shoes off at the door, even though my family and friends do not.   I feel great about my WCBF experience. I feel I made a lot of new friends. I had a lot of fun, also. I learned a lot about the beautiful country of Japan. I especially liked playing baseball with people I have never met before from different countries.   I am very grateful that I could go to Japan! It was a great experience and if I could, I would definitely do it again.  - Molly Pearlman, age 10

Elijah Benzvi - WCBF 2003 Yamaguchi Participant, USA
The WCBF Event in Yamaguchi City, Japan, August, 2003
Before I went to Japan, I did not know what to expect. On the flight to Japan, I met my US teammates and the chaperon. They were all very nice. We stayed one night at the hotel in Tokyo and the next day continued to Yamaguchi City.
I saw so many kids from different countries. The first 2 days we had to get used to the cabins, the rain, the food, the clothes and equipment and get ready to the opening ceremony. The most difficult thing was missing my family and trying to stay away from the spiders and mosquitoes, which for some reason liked me.
Then practices started. I wanted to improve my baseball skills. My favorite part of practice was pitching, sliding and pop-ups. Since it was raining a lot, we practiced and played inside the dome. I made lots of friends from the Japanese, Australian and Nicaraguan teams, even though it was not easy to communicate with them, since we did not know each other's language. Still, we had a lot of fun together.
I really enjoyed some of the local trips and the closing ceremony. I liked the coaches very much and I feel I improved my baseball skills a lot. I wanted to thank WCBF for giving me this special opportunity.
Yours,
Elijah Benzvi
Frisco, TX
 Noor Al Samarrai - WCBF 2002 Wakayama Participant, USA
Hello. My name is Noor, I was part of the United States delegation to WCBF this
year. I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed my experience very much. Our group was wonderful and our chaperone Ricky was so great, funny, helpful and he told us lots of stories that made our journey very excited. I met other kids from around the world and made many friends especially with my roommates because we spent more time together.

Everyone in the program was very nice, I especially remember our other chaperone,
Akiyo, and the other hostesses, in our dormitory.

I really liked the places we went to, such as: an elementary school, where we were taught some origami; a baseball game, which was very fun; the beach, where I got some souvenirs from; and other really fun places, like Adventure World, where I had a lot of fun, we went on a lot of enjoyable rides. I remember how just as we got on the Ferris Wheel, it started raining nice cool rain in contrast to the hot weather we had been having.

I learned that the word for hot is "atsui," I said that a lot, and I learned a few other words in Japanese. I learned a lot about baseball and improved at that sport. The coaches were really great; you would have to say that if they helped you improve so much in less than 10 days!

We felt good when we gave and got, and when we shared the small things that we brought with us. The people at WCBF worked really well to make us not feel homesick, and that was very important because I was worry first that I will miss home very much.
I really liked being a part of this experience. It was great and I learned a lot. I really hope to go as chaperone in the future for WCBF and hopefully we will see many other places and make new friends. Thank you so much.By: Noor Al-Samarrai ©


Elizabeth Caldwell - WCBF 2002 Wakayama Participant, USA
I loved everything about WCBR. I had lots of fun playing baseball and seeing the beautiful scenery of Japan. What I liked most was meeting new people from different places. My favorite workshops were umpiring, pitching and sliding. The chaperons were great. Ricky (USA chaperon) was nice and a good problem solver. Akiyo was my favorite chaperon , I miss her. I liked meeting the international coaches. I especially liked meeting Ila Borders. I'm glad that you include women in the program. Since I went back to school, I have shown a few boys in class how to pitch correctly.
The thing that I liked most about WCBF was that everyone was so generous and treated me so nice. It was the best thing to ever happen to me. Thank you so much.



Derek Beckman - WCBF 2002 Wakayama Participant, USA
When I went to Japan this summer I had a great time. The thing that I most enjoyed was hitting three homeruns and going to Wonder World. I think the dorm food was very good. It was a new expierence for me to try food.
Ricky was a great chaperon. I did enjoyed the clinics and I learned a new way to pitch. I think the IBAF coaches were great. I learned alot from them. From Derek Beckman, USA


Ariane Gipson - WCBF 2002 Wakayama Participant, USA
My Trip to Japan 2002 with the WCBF
by Ariane Gipson

I enjoyed my trip to Japan with the WCBF very much. It was fun to be in a different part of the world. But I also felt kinda funny being away from home by myself. I was a little homesick and missed my family. But, other than that, I had a blast.

The most fun part about the trip was that we got to meet and trade with other kids from all around the world, because you didn't know what they were going to give you. That was a great experience for me.

I would also like to thank everyone at WCBF for making this trip possible. But, more importantly, I would like to thank our chaperone, Ricky because he always gave us something to laugh at. Thoughout the whole trip he kept saying, "I pulled a muscle". But I want to thank him, not for just making us laugh, but for watching over us on the plane, the phone, the bus and everywhere else.

Once again, I enjoyed the trip to Japan with the other four kids from the United States, and if I could, I would gladly go back. Perhaps one day I could be like Ricky and come back as a chaperone.

Sincerely,

Araine Gipson

Peter Dipasquale - WCBF 2002 Wakayama Participant, USA
I went to Japan to play baseball and to learn how. Before I went I didn't even know how. The coaches were very helpful and courteous. I liked the rooms we slept in a lot. I liked the buses that we road on because they had TV's but didn't like it when we changed buses. I liked the plane ride to Japan and back again. I'm grateful they gave us bags to put stuff in. I learned a lot about playing baseball.

Going to schools on field trips were fun because we learned about origami and how to spell "people" in Japanese. They gave us cotton candy and ices as an added bonus. My funniest memory was when a kid named Ben tried catching a fly ball. A fly ball is a ball that goes higher than most balls. Ben reached up and tried to catch it but instead of catching it, it rolled into his sleeve and down his pants. Needless to say it was a home run for the other team.

My favorite memory was meeting kids from around the world. I met kids from Japan, Germany, Israel, Canada, Indonesia, Guam, China, and Australia.I met a kid named Ukyo Omae , we are now pen pals. I have written him two letters and he has written me two letters back. Right now I'm in the process of writting him one back. A kid named Kemmal and I played on a baseball team together. Our team number was seven. We only lost one game. The best game we won was 15-0. I traded pencils and postcards with my freinds in Japan.

Peter Dipasquale
1998 WCBF SHIZUOKA, JAPAN

Nkanyso Dube, Zimbabwe
I cannot think of WCBF 98 without smiling. It was my happiest time in life so far. At first I was scared at at the same time interested in meeting other people, especially white people. I had thought that I was going to play with children from Kenya and Japan. I was surprised when I could play with anyone. Now I have good feelings about all countries. I am proud that I could also talk about baseball in Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) without anyone laughing.

The Odakyu Gotenba family land gave me a very exciting memory and feelings about a different world. The world can be interesting if people treat each other as special. I felt very special at the WCBF. I forgot that I was from Africa. I met a friend there. Her name is Manami Fujie. She was very kind. I was always laughing with her. In the morning we said "Ohayo-Gosayimas". For hallo we said "Konnichiwa". I was very sad when we separated because we both cried.

The all star game was very interesting. I wish to know more about those Baseball stars I saw. When I grow up I want to be a sports journalist with the Chronicle (Zimbabweans Newspaper). I want to write baseball news in my country and send it to Mr. Hank Aaron and Mr. Sadaharu Oh. I hope that I am going to be a good baseball player who is going to help other young baseball players in the future.
 Christopher Reddick, Pottstown, PA
I had a wonderful time in Japan! I enjoyed meeting the people best of all. I learned how to speak "a little" Japanese, how to use chopsticks, and how to play the position "catcher". I had the awesome pleasure of meeting Hank Aaron and a famous Japanese baseball player named Sadaharu Oh, both of whom started the World Children's Baseball Fair seven years ago. I thank God for giving me this opportunity to visit Japan, getting us there safe and bringing us home safe (I did get a little homesick). I would also like to thank Hank Aaron and Sadaharu Oh for starting this Baseball Fair. It's a chance of a lifetime that I might never have experienced if it weren't for the two of them! (Home Run News, April 1998)

Sarah Rushing, Los Banos, CA
The best part about WCBF was being able to play so much baseball. Half the day we learned the basic skills of baseball and the other half we got to practice the skills. The Japanese kids were really good baseball players. Baseball in Japan is very big... it seemed everyone either played baseball or were a really big fan of baseball. When they go to games, they pay close attention and every cheers. (Home Run News, April 1998)

Seth Kaas, Pottstown, PA
To start off, I would like to tell you about the baseball clinics. I enjoyed them very much. While I was there, they gave me a new batting stance and I also practiced how to bunt, catch, run the bases, sliding, and how to play the game better. The coaches were very nice. If you had a question, you were allowed to ask it at any time. Another highlight of the trip was meeting Hank Aaron. I'll never get to meet somebody like that again. I would just like to say thank you for letting me go on this trip. It was an experience fo a lifetime. (Home Run News, April 1998)

Terrel Harrison, Yonkers, NY
There was all kinds of entertainment for us. We visited a school in Japan and they had singers and dancers performing for us. My once-in-a-lifetime trip was an educational and fun one. I enjoyed meeting the other kids from all over the world and the Japanese were really friendly and hospitable to us. (Home Run News, April 1998)

Jennifer Fry, Pottstown, PA
After baseball practice we would go sightseeing. We went to the Bomb Museum in Nagasaki. It was a very sad place. It showed the destruction of the Atomic Bomb on the people and the town. We were given a bell to take home and when we ring the bell, we are to remember all the people who were killed. Then we went to a Science Museum and got to look at a lot of really nice stuff. I really liked it there. (Home Run News, April 1998)

Curtis Harper, Tuscaloosa, AL
The neatest thing was getting to meet all the kids from other countries like New Zealand, Japan, China, and other countries that I never even knew about before this trip. They were all friendly and everyone had lots of fun. (Home Run News, April 1998)

Lt. Edward Geiss, chaperon from Yonkers, NY
25 hours after leaving Kennedy Airport I was finally at the Youth Center in Sasebo, a suburb of Nagasaki, and was yearning for some sleep. I learned to my dismay that I would be bunking with 7 boys! Cursing under my breath and thinking that I must have been out of my mind when I agreed to this trip, I decided to make the best of it and headed to the men's room before calling it a night. Opening the bathroom stall, I was stunned to see what awaited me. Instead of a conventional toilet with all the amenities (such as a seat) I saw some crazy looking contraption built into the floor. It became apparent that I would have to loosen up my knees and sharpen up on my catcher's stance. I immediately vowed never to relieve myself until I got back to the States and to kill Nerilda Lugo from the National PAL Office who continually told me how wonderful this trip would be. Needless to say, Nerilda is still alive and after the initial fatigue and culture shock wore off and the WCBF events began, I knew that Nerilda had been right and that the World Children's Baseball Fair was a First Class operation. Thank you for allowing myself and the children the opportunity of attending this fabulous event. It was a wonderful experience for me and I know it will surely be a positive influence on the lives of all the youth that attended WCBF. (Home Run News, April 1998)