This neighborhood boy went halfway around the world away to play baseball
Like the commercial says, it’s 90 feet to first base in a professional baseball game no matter where you are.
That’s one of the things 11-year-old neighborhood resident Jeffers Radar learned recently when he took his first trip overseas to compete with his Dallas Tigers baseball team in a series of goodwill games in China.
But there were other lessons, too.
“It was fun, but the food was really bad,” Radar says. “They served us things like donkey and jellyfish. We weren’t eating anything. So our parents found us a McDonalds.”
Radar, his mother Barbara and several other parent chaperones, nine of his teammates, and a group of other American teams traveled to Beijing, China, for the Third Annual Beijing Fengtai International Boys and Children Baseball Friendship Invitational Tournament. Radar’s team spent nine days in Beijing playing baseball and touring the city.
While the food didn’t seem to catch on, the group did its best to catch on to elements of Chinese culture with activities such as visiting the Great Wall and watching a show by Chinese acrobats, which Radar says was his favorite experience.
But he did notice a Western influence had made its mark on the city, too.
“Everybody thought our coach was Michael Jordan. Everybody kept coming up and asking to take a picture with him,” laughs Radar.
In the baseball stadium, the boys were surprised that all of the baseball terms are the same in Chinese and English.
“There are no Chinese terms for baseball terms. So they would call out ‘strike’ like we do, but just in an accent,” Barbara says.
At the end of the tournament, the teams exchanged gifts. Radar’s team gave each Chinese boy a package that included a Texas flag, and Radar and his teammates each received a traditional silk Chinese ribbon. Many of the boys also traded their Dallas Tigers hats for one of the Chinese boys’ hats, Radar says.
“I would definitely go back there to play baseball again,” he says. “But it wasn’t for the baseball this time, it was for the experience.”
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