COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
Kosloff, 2005 WCBF Sub Head Coach
What beautiful country we visited for the 2005 WCBF. Once
again the WCBF did a wonderful job in ensuring this year's Fair
to one of the best ever. The trip to the mountain top to the
children's home took my breath. Truly one of the most beautiful
sights this side of heaven. Although very hot on most days
the weather was perfect for baseball. The clinics
this year were again taught by some of the best coaches in the
world. I feel very honored and thankful to be a member
of the IBAF coaching staff. The opportunity to share baseball
and life lessons with children from all over the world gives
me so much joy and happiness. Although I struggled with
health issues, this year the Fair was the best medicine I have
ever received. The highlight of my trip was my one on one
meeting with the greatest home run king of all time, Mr. Oh.
We shared thoughts, laughter and hugs. Mr. Oh is truly a hero
of mine. I thank Mr. Oh, Mr. Aaron, and Dr. Akiko Agishi
for having the courage and fortitude 16 years ago to initiate
this program to help promote world peace and happiness through
baseball. Their continued support along with the tireless efforts
of the WCBF Staff has proven that through baseball, all can be
achieved. I know that because of the WCBF I'm a much wiser person.
Thank you WCBF. May God bless all of you always!
Siegal, 2005 WCBF Coach & Womens Baseball League
The WCBF children are my greatest memories in Maebashi. Although
we all spoke different languages, the language of baseball brought
us together. With 20 different countries represented, it is amazing
to see how much we are all alike rather than different. In the
end, the smiles on everyones faces, including the children,
volunteers, staff, and coaches proved the success of WCBF 2005.
This is my favorite picture at the WCBF.
COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
| George Santiago, 2004 WCBF Head Coach
The 15th anniversary of the World Childrens Baseball Fair
was so smooth the week seemed like a couple of days. The planning
and execution was conducted excellently and tastefully as always.
I would like to thank everyone for their support and dedication
to the WCBF, whether it was their 1st year or 15th year of involvement.
It takes all of us to make this special event happen and be successful.
On behalf of the IBAF coaches, we thank you for a tremendous
event. Unfortunately this years event had to be divided
between three locations and this took away from the close feelings.
But we recognize the hard work by all the organizers, staff,
sponsors, and volunteers. THANK YOU!!
Chris Wilhelm, Canada Chaperon WCBF 2004
Now in its 15th year, the WCBFs stated goal is to foster
global understanding among various cultures through the playing
of baseball. The Canadian boys certainly achieved this goal.
They slept in a room with 15 Japanese boys, and despite language
barriers, strong friendships were formed. Also in their dorm
were children from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland
and Indonesia. Nightly games of tag, watching Japanese baseball
on television, swimming at the dorm water park, and playing ball
together every morning quicklyFall/
eliminated cultural differences and cemented friendships. Upon
leaving, tears were shed and email addresses exchanged. It
is certain that many of these global friendships will last a
The five boys also experienced many aspects of Japanese culture.
They slept on the floor on futons in the Japanese style
and ate with chopsticks. They even sampled some authentic
Japanese cuisine such as sushi and takoyaki (fried octopus).
They attended numerous cultural events including traditional
puppetry and drum presentations, a street festival, and an incredible
fireworks display. Special highlights were an afternoon
at a Japanese amusement park, and visiting a museum memorializing
the 6000 victims of the 1995 earthquake. For Brian, Brady, Jarrod,
Tommy and Trevor, it was an experience that will never be forgotten.
2003 COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
George Santiago, 2003 Head Coach
This year's event was well programmed and ran smoothly. I'm sure
the coordination of four locations [for the clinics] was not
easy. Due to rain on Sunday, August 17, the clinic location had
to be changed at the last minute but everything worked out fine.
Overall, things ran very well, and everyone seemed happy and
content. The meals worked out fine, everyone was happy and no
weight loss to report this year. The fields in the past have
bee very good, but this year's facilities (the main fields) were
excellent. Shimonoseki - very good, Park Ube - very good, Kirara
Sports Park (dome) - excellent, Saikyo Stadium - very good (even
though we got rained out). The field staff was very cooperative,
understanding, fast acting and efficient. The assistant coaches
seemed a bit younger this year but for the most part they did
a good job with the coaches and the children. The biggest challenge
every year is getting the local hosts and chaperones to partake
in the daily activities on the baseball field.
The coaches want to thank the whole WCBF staff for their dedication
to the children and for making our jobs easier. Without these
special people it would be impossible to operate this event at
a first class level. THANK YOU!
Angel Bonilla - IBAF Coach for WCBF (1990-2003)
I would like to thank the WCBF and the IBAF for once again giving
me the opportunity to be a poart of this year's fair in Yamaguchi.
I commend the executive committee and organizers of the WCBF
for putting on a highly successful event. I am also thankful
to the citizens of Yamaguchi Prefecture for the way they welcomed
us and the children into their hearts. Their treatment of us
was absolutely first class. They managed to put on a great show,
one they can be very proud of.
Sary Benzvi, WCBF Special Guest
The WCBF 14th event, Yamaguchi Japan, August 2003
The WCBF event in Yamaguchi Japan in August
2003 was a very unique experience for me. I have been to Tokyo
and Osaka a few times before, but this was the first time for
me to experience western Japan, away from the big city.
I was involved as part of American Airlines, in organizing the
first WCBF event at UCLA in Los Angeles, in 1990. I had a chance
to meet very special people such as Joe DiMaggio, Mrs. Jackie
Robinson, the founders of WCBF, Mr. Sadaharu Oh, Dr. Akiko Agishi,
Mr. Hank Aaron and many others. That event was a great success
and since then, I remained a very good friend of Dr. Agishi and
the WCBF organization.
I participated in the WCBF Yamaguchi event as an observer, in
order to understand the challenges facing such an event and try
to bring the event to Texas, USA in the summer of 2005. Since
my 10 year old son, Elijah, was one of the US players, I had
a chance to observe the positive effect this great event had
on the children.
I was very impressed with the way the event was organized. From
the moment we arrived to the airport in Ube till the moment we
left Japan, the kids followed a busy and exciting schedule. Activities
were planned in detail and the coaches, chaperons and administrative
staff knew their role very well.
After arriving to Yamaguchi, the kids were divided into groups
and bungalows. They were given the baseball equipment and uniforms
and received an orientation about the facilities, the schedule
and life in the camp site.
After an impressive opening ceremony, where each country marched
with its flags and local dignitaries addressed the crowed, the
first clinic took place.
The IBAF coaches and their local volunteer assistants did a great
job working with the kids on basic baseball skills. The field
was divided into stations such as pitching, batting, sliding,
base running, fielding and more. The groups rotated through the
different stations. The Yamaguchi area had the luxury of an indoor
baseball dome. Since it rained almost daily, the dome allowed
WCBF the flexibility of using indoor or outdoor facilities.
After the morning clinic, the kids went back to the camp site
to change and rest. In the afternoon and evening time, the kids
had different activities such as a trip to the nearby city (Shimonoseki)
to enjoy the beautiful scenery and kids activities, meeting with
local kids and local cultural events. Sadaharu Oh, who just won
the Japanese Championship as the manager of the Fukuoka Daiei
Hawks, visited the kids during a morning session and his presence
created quite an excitement.
Since parents are not allowed to be with their kids during the
event, I had very little interaction with my son. I could sense
an adjustment period for the first few days, but later on, the
kids made lots of friends from different countries, learned lots
of baseball and had lots of fun.
Through the years, I have made many Japanese friends, especially,
during the 12 years I lived in Los Angeles. But again, I was
very impressed with the people and the culture of Japan, the
hospitality and the people's manners and politeness. I was also
very impressed with the progress Japanese baseball has made.
Baseball is now the number one sport in Japan. During our stay,
regional high-school baseball games were televised in prime TV
during evening hours.
This is thanks to the grass root efforts by organizations such
as WCBF. But the message of WCBF is beyond baseball. It is about
cultural interaction and global understanding. It is about kids
from different countries communicating, becoming friends and
having fun playing baseball. And if one of these kids may become
a baseball star one day, I am sure they will remember the opportunity
Sadaharu Oh and Akiko Agishi and WCBF gave them in the summer
Thank you WCBF.
Deb Bettencourt - 2003 USA Chaperone
First and foremost, I miss the kids! I have our team picture
up on the mantle over my computer at home so I see them every
day. I have another picture some else took in a frame in my office
at work. It is amazing how they can have such an impact on you
in such a short amount of time. When we first met with the IBAF
coaching staff, one of them said that there would be times where
the kids would drive us crazy (and they did!) but there would
be times they would make us laugh (they did that too) and times
they would make us cry. The crying came on the last days. When
we left Yamaguchi and all the new friends I had made there and
then again when I left the kids at the airport. It wasn't an
out-in-the-open crying but my heart broke to know that I wouldn't
get to see some of these people again. I am happy to say that
I have remained in contact with some of the kids and even Kayo,
the woman who was the host staff for the Canadian team. It would
be a shame to walk away from an experience like that and not
come out with new friends.
The trip itself was amazing! Traveling back
and forth to Japan with the 5 kids was crazy enough at times
but once we all got together and there were all of these kids
traveling in this train of buses and on the 2 domestic flights
in Japan, it was insane! But the kids were great. That was the
first thing everyone wanted to know when I got back. How were
the kids? I don't have any children myself but have worked with
children for as long as I can remember but its different when
you are responsible for them 24/7 for almost 2 weeks! So back
to the question...how were the kids? My standard response is
"They were 10." Plain and simple. They did what 10
year olds do. They were respectful and courteous for the most
part but as kids (and sometimes adults) forget their manners
and the rest of the time they were just kids. And I couldn't
have asked for any more or less from them. Meals were always
fun. Everyone attempted the chopsticks but pretty much ended
up using spoons and forks or even their hands. French fries were
popular with every meal. Boxed lunches were a little less popular.
All of the things people didn't like seemed to get passed down
to Ken. He was like our little garbage disposal. I think peanut
butter and jelly might have been a little more welcome!
The girls were very popular. Molly and Lauren
were by far the favorites of all the boys. Not to mention the
television cameras! Everyone wanted to interview the American
girls. It finally got to the point where Lauren had gotten tired
of saying the same things over and over so together we came up
with a new response for her to give. "She wants to be able
to come back and volunteer for the WCBF some day." I hope
she does get the opportunity to do that someday because it is
a wonderful experience. The boys were great with the girls. I
guess now a days it is more common to find girls and boys playing
baseball together. I had never experienced that when I was their
age so I was curious to see how it would all play out. They got
along great. Although I think the boys learned their first important
lesson about girls...they are usually running late!
The accomodations were nice. Lauren and Molly
lucked out and had to room with me! Not sure if they considered
that lucky or not. But we had a good time. We got to talk about
our families and I got to tell them about all of the opportunities
out there for girls to play baseball now. Even the boys found
that interesting and were impressed that I spoke at the National
Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
The clinics were very well organized and there
was enough translation provided so that everyone knew what was
going on. The kids had no problem interacting with each other
and made friends very easily. I had Chase and Elijah in my group
for the clinics and they did well. Our team got to play Lauren
and Ken on the final day so that was fun. Molly and Lauren were
big hits with the coaches as well. "You're killing me"
was a phrase that was always followed by the word MOLLY and Lauren
became known as "the surfer girl".
I could go on and on forever. And I probably
will in my journal. But the most important thing is that I express
my sincere gratitude to the WCBF for giving me this honor. It
is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. And my
thanks to the kids who helped me created some wonderful memories.
Randy and Kazue Tewell - Parents of
2003 USA participant
Our son, Ken (10 years old), just came back
from 14th World Children`s Baseball Fair in Yamaguchi, Japan.
He spent 10 days in Yamaguchi with 175 children from 18 countries.
Ken participated in baseball clinics and cultural activities
with local Yamaguchi children. Baseball clinics were held at
four different baseball fields in Yamaguchi prefecture, and all
the children stayed at a Youth Center in Tokuji Town.
There were five participants from each country,
and there were chaperons and a host for each country. The chaperon
traveled with the kids from/to US, and a host supported the group
as an interpreter in Japan. Both supervised the five children.
It was the first time for Ken to be apart
from us, but we were comfortable because the Fair was held in
Japan. One of the many things I was concerned about was laundry.
Ken never had done laundry at home, so I packed many clothes.
But there was no worry. They had volunteer mothers to wash 175
children`s dirty clothes! Ken said that every morning his host
collected dirty clothes, and clean clothes came back to him two
The baseball fair was well organized and supported
by detailed staff and many volunteers. The facilities were all
top notch. Baseball equipment, including bats, gloves, and helmets,
were provide to all of the children. They got to bring their
equipment home. Ken is really proud of his gear.
The coaches worked well with kids from all
over the world and with vastly different levels of baseball experience.
To some kids, baseball was new; and for others -- don't be surprised
if you see them in the major leagues some day! On the last day,
the children got to put it all together and played a series of
The Fair wasn't only about baseball. The WCBF
is also about building
friendship and understanding among cultures from all over the
world. Each day the children participated in a cultural exchange
after the baseball clinic. Ken really enjoyed these events. One
day the children made paper cranes as a symbol of peace. Another
day they went to a local aquarium and a fire works display. They
also were treated to Japanese traditional Bon dance and drummers.
Ken made many friends from all over the world,
including Japan. As he
speaks both English and Japanese, he could communicate with more
boys and girls than other participants. We hope Ken will stay
Japanese school and value his identity as a Japanese.
We thank WCBF staff, volunteers, and children
in Yamaguchi for giving Ken a great experience this summer. This
was one of those precious opportunities to allow your child experience
the world on their own, and in the process, help them understand
that we are all citizens of the world.
- Randy and Kazue Tewell
Global Community Building Through Organized Sport
2002 COACH &
Darin H. Van Tassell
Organized sport is conventionally thought
of as encompassing little more than a leisure activity or a form
of entertainment. However, I have long been convinced that an
understanding of sport and its potential for impact on society
deserves more serious consideration. Because sport is a part
of society and interacts with other facets and institutions,
sport as a focus of study is a highly complex and pervasive social
phenomenon with many interconnected dimensions and expressions.
Furthermore, it is important to understand that sport, like other
institutions, can be consciously or unconsciously manipulated
by individuals, interest groups, classes, as well as government
in pursuit of ends which may be limited to the sports realm or
which may have larger implications. Such manipulation need not
be negative, either.
My recent role as a Head Coach for the International
Baseball Association at the 13th Annual World Childrens
Baseball Fair (WCBF) held in Wakayama, Japan this summer provides
precisely such an example. Alternating annually between Japan
and North America, this 12-day event of baseball clinics and
contests and cultural infusion brings together over 200 eleven
and twelve year-olds from around the globe.
The ability to transcend the various societal cleavages which
divide, isolate, and make foreign the various peoples
of this planet is often seen as the potential paths for a more
peaceful and prosperous world. And while the various national
governments of the globe often pay more lip service
than action to such goals, the WCBF as an NGO provides an atmosphere,
opportunity and the means for achieving a more perfect union
among a diverse people: organized sport. Using the baseball as
its vehicle, the WCBF has become one of the worlds most
unique forums for providing an incredible sense of increased
global understanding, cohesion, and community formationat
least for the eleven and twelve year olds involved. During the
clinics, learning the game of baseball is the means by which
a community is developed for the participants involved,
and it is precisely this kind of community which becomes a mechanism
for increasing the prospects for peace for an increasingly violent
planet. Lingual, cultural, social, and gender barriers are quickly
and easily bridged among the children (and chaperones for that
matter). And while the bridge may be a temporary one, lasting
only the twelve days of the event, the effects of this short-lived
community are potentially worthy of a lifetime. Developing a
sense of global consciousness plays a critical role in allowing
a diverse group of people to focus on those qualities which we
share, as opposed to what separates us.
To be sure, the potential organized sport
possesses for making a meaningful impact on societal outcomes
goes far beyond our conventional understanding of sport. We need
not think of sport strictly as entertainment and recreation.
This is not to suggest that if the governments of our world would
only take a more active role in the promotion of sports, then
the very real problems which characterize societies plagued by
intolerance, poverty, lack of infrastructure, illiteracy, public
health, and debt would somehow become less severe. Problems such
as these deserve more intelligent responses. However, sport can
play a meaningful role in such areas as the fostering of community,
for it creates an environment for interaction by people representative
of all sorts of social cleavages. Such interaction and communication
is needed in a world were the gaps between these cleavages are
great. My experiences with the WCBF remind me that we would be
mistaken to underestimate the impact that such psychological
rewards can bring.
Darin Van Tassell
International Baseball Federation
2002 WCBF, Wakayama
Ricky Yamauchi - WCBF 2002 Wakayama Chaperon, USA CAS PIELAK - WCBF North America President
The Summer 2002 WCBF event was more than fun. It was not just
that it was a feeling of recreation, there was a whole sense
of hopefulness in that by all of us being together, we might
make the world a better place. There were a lot of funny moments
and a lot of amazing displays of athleticism and a lot of new
friendships being created. I heartfully enjoyed working with
the kids and getting them to smile or see them smile as they
learned a new skill, or almost learned a new skill or just smiled
because they are children. I think I loved the events not so
much because of what the events where, but because the people
there were sharing and welcoming.
The dorms were very appropriate in that they weren't very fancy
or distracting. This allowed the children to interact with each
other instead of them just watching movies, playing video games,
or getting into trouble. They would look around for things to
do and they found the children from other countries.
The food was very good and well varied. I think it was very helpful
that each plate had a picture on it describing the contents.
There are some cultures that do not eat certain types of meats
and the pictures helped to accomodate them. I enjoyed eating
a lot of Japanese food and I had miso soup I believe every morning.
The exchange events were always fun as we got to meet people
from Japan and at times got to see them in their everyday lives
(school, themepark, shopping). At the grammar school I especially
liked when the school students taught everybody to make origami
since this is something the children can take back home and show
The baseball clinics were an amazing experience. I know that
sounds a little cliche, but that's the truth. This is where the
kids played with each other from different countries as a team.
There were so many special moments and growing experiences, not
only for the kids, but myself as well. I enjoyed the personalities
of the other chaperons, coaches, and hosts/hostesses. Sometimes
the kids would get a little discouraged, but then they would
later accomplish a new feat and be amazed at their own progress.
The kids constantly did things to make you smile.
The coaches were very knowledgeable and focused on fun, safety,
and learning. They demonstrated each technique so the kids could
understand. With everything they did, one could tell that the
coaches were dedicated and loved what they were doing. They were
often humourous and were very patient with the kids.
I had so much fun. Meeting, working with, and helping all the
people (kids, chaperons, hosts/hostesses, coaches, and staff,
and everyone) just made me smile. The only thing I did not like
was having to say Good-bye because a lot of people were crying
and it was a little sad. I miss everybody because it was such
My experience with the WCBF Summer Week Event was just exceptional,
especially with the children. It's such a great thing to have
those children coming from around the world. Today when we have
so many problems in the world, if we can continue to do this
and use baseball to help, not only these children but also those
back home will benefit. i know that the children from Canada
have shared their wonderful experience through newsletters and
pen pal letters.
The real highlight was seeing all the children together and also
meeting the WCBF executives and staff who worked together so
hard to make the Event Week happen. And naturally the ultimate
highlight had to be going to see Sadaharu Oh and watching a ball
game in the Fukuoka Dome where he manages the Daiei Hawks. (Home
Run News, April 1998)
HARMON KILLEBREW - WCBF North America 1st Vice President
The WCBF Summer Week Event is always a source of joy to me and
this year I was delighted at the chance to visit my friend, Sadaharu
Oh. The quality of the Fair continues to be absolutely top notch,
particularly the level of the IBA coaches instruction in the
clinics. The interaction between the children seems to improve
year after year and the athletic ability of the kids was awfully
good this year. I had the opportunity to talk many times with
lots of the children and I thought that their reaction was definitely
positive. I'm sure this enriching experience will not stop with
them, but will be shared and spread among their friends when
they get back home. (Home Run News, April 1998)
HANK AARON - WCBF Founder and Honorary Chairperson
It was a pleasure to once again join with the children from all
over the world for the WCBF Summer Week Event. I am always delighted
to see their excitement and eagerness to learn how to play baseball
and to get to know one another. It is inspirational to watch
kids who really cannot speak each other's language communicate
quite accurately. Giggles, smiles, hand language and that wonderful
enthusiasm that children possess makes this interaction possible.
Also, I was pleased to see that the WCBF Event Week continues
to be a first class event. Everything was well organized and
planned out... no small task for such a large international group.
Of course, this year was special for me in that I was reunited
with my dear friend, Sadaharu Oh. This year he was able to get
away from his manager's responsibilities to spend some time with
the WCBF kids... which I know is an activity very dear to his
heart. (Home Run News, April 1998)