Baseball camps building sport’s profile

Wednesday March 4 2020

Run. A player of St Katherine Girls School

Run. A player of St Katherine Girls School takes off from the strike zone after hitting a fly ball on Saturday in Lira. PHOTO by George Katongole. 

By George Katongole

While baseball is one of those negligible sports in Uganda, its growing profile highlights the impact it is making.
Just last year, Uganda’s attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games were quashed by African champions South Africa, but efforts are in place for future talent development.
During a learn and fun event held at St Katherine Girls School in Lira District on Saturday, Carly Van Orman, the US Mission Cultural Affairs Officer, spoke on the important contributions baseball can make to youth seeking career options. For the second year running, the US Mission in Uganda is facilitating the Jackie Robinson baseball camps to encourage young people take up the sport.
“It builds teamwork and you learn to work hard on something you are targeting. You also learn how to deal with disappointment especially when you lose,” Orman said.
Orman touched on the influence that Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player, left on America. As Robinson desegregated baseball by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, he helped jump-start the civil rights movement
“He was not the best baseball player at the start. He played a lot of sports including track and field, basketball and American football yet he ended up becoming a Major League Baseball legend by working so hard,” she added.
Africa was the last of the six major continents to develop baseball and was the last one to have produced a major league player, which happened in 2017 when South African Gift Ngoepe made his debut. The highlight of Uganda’s baseball has been qualification for some editions of the Little League World Series.
National team player Rosemary Jopaowitt was excited with the future players.
“We all started like this and I can see great talent pool here,” she noted.
The best 10 players for each gender have been selected to attend a national final on April 18. The clinics will also be held in Soroti and Fort Portal on March 14 and 28 respectively.