As I write this, the new
school term is in its 6th week. In early January, the first of the two
Dodger coaches scheduled to be at the school arrived. On the 15th, he was
followed by the two others. They saw what changes were made at the request
of the Dodgers and were very happy to see that what they were told would be
done had been done. During their first week, they asked for the batting
cages and pitching area be covered and a carpet installed over the cement
floor to protect the baseballs. Arrangements were made to get this done, but
first of the 11 pallets and the container had to be cleared so they could be
delivered. The 11 pallets the Dodgers shipped air freight arrived and were
cleared in a matter of three days. The many boxes of equipment was delivered
to the complex and unloaded. It took the container until early February
before we could get that cleared. The amount of money it took, and the time
it took was unbelievable. The cost was three times the invoice value, but
this is what happens in Uganda when you are not a big shipper of containers.
Either pay the fee, or lose everything.
Needless to say, the batting cages were erected, carpets put down, pitching
machines set up, and everything is now functioning, including the weight
room. When school started, the new schedule was put into effect which has
all the students playing sports during the afternoon, with everyone involved
for 2.5 hours each school day and a good part of Saturday and the boys on
Sunday. The weekday sessions are broken up into two sessions. All the
students are now equipped with Dodger uniforms, have their own gloves and
new shoes, amongst other things.
One of the major changes has been the starting time of the first school
class at 8AM instead of 7AM. This was a big controversial change, but it
appears to have made many people happy, including the students and teachers.
The arena was finally officially finished and the students are now
instructed in basketball for 2.5 hours per week. We hope to put together a
competitive girls team of age 15 and under and a boys team of the same age.
Those teams will begin to play in a competitive league starting in early
June. We will find out how good we can coach shortly.
Our soccer coach has been contacted about what we might be able to do in
regard to making an excellent soccer field for the Ugandan National age 17
and under team to practice and play on. As you may know, our next project
will be the construction of the 400 meter track. The Football Federation
wants us to put in a first class grass field inside the track. We have to
obtain the detailed plans for the track and figure out where we are going to
put it. We were hoping to obtain the plans that were used by Hillsdale
College in installing their new trackfor this track, but so far they have
yet to be sent to us. We had hopes of starting the construction of this
track by sometime late summer or early fall with completion early in 2020.
We may still get it done by that time.
A very significant event took place this past Saturday, February 23. The
team that will represent Uganda in the East Africa tournament, a part of the
qualifying round for the 2020 Olympics came to the complex to play a game
against the students at the AVRS school. The score was 22-5 in favor of AVRS.
The first pitch thrown to an AVRS batter was deposited out of sight for a
home run. Why they managed to score 5 runs off us, I do not know. All I can
say, in the six years, there is not a team in Uganda that has yet to beat an
AVRS team in baseball or softball. It is expected that the National team
will probably go on to win the East Africa tournament as they are heavily
favored to do so. How far they will go, no one knows, but they are certainly
not the best team in Uganda in regards to baseball. The best team in Uganda
is still located at the AVRS school. The so called National Uganda Softball
team still refuses to play the AVRS girls even though they have been invited
to play the school team for the past year. Undoubtedly, they do not want to
suffer a defeat like the one suffered by the baseball team.
Trenton Thunder supplied the hats and shirts that the team wore
in Poland. The Trenton team was rooting for them to win so that they could
come to the U.S. and visit the Trenton stadium and be introduced to the
media and the crowd at a Trenton Thunder ball game. Uganda would
have been the first African Little League team to make it to the
Little League World Series in its almost 80 year history.