Come and spend 1 month to 9 months in Cape Town, playing baseball, meeting new people, developing your English having an adventure.
Pole2Pole Baseball is a collaboration between old friends Georg Bull and Mark Moore who played together in Sea Point, Cape Town back in the 80’s when music was good and baseball even better. Georg went on to build his Deutsche Baseball Akademie (in Germany) and Mark went on to build his Baseball Academy (in Cape Town).
After years of trying to work out a solution for the two academies to work together they came up with the Pole2Pole baseball exchange programme. The programme is two fold.
Players from Europe can come over to Cape Town (in Europe’s winter) and experience, what has been voted world wide and many times, The Most Beautiful city in the world. The cultures, the people and the beauty of Cape Town is nothing short of amazing – with Robben Island, Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront, Cape Point, Stellenbosch just to mention a few of the Major Attractions in Cape Town.
The players live in Coach Mark’s house and go to school at one of 2 local schools in the area and experience South Africa, they also train in Coach Mark’s Academy and play in the local league – Cape Town has 22 baseball clubs in the various leagues. They also partake in all family events and outings, as well as their own excursions and ultimately the Roadtrip/s (when they get into Coach Mark’s SUV and travel around the country depending on what option the player chooses).
I can say with complete confidence that every player that has come over, has left here with a couple of additions to their life, apart from the family and friends, they learn;
A little bit of humility (from working with disadvantaged kids here)
A bit of adventure, Cape Town does not have WiFi in every corner and when we travel into the mountains and pine forest there is just that – nature. Walking in the sun in the forest, climbing the mountain, jumping off rocks into the river, going to the beach and Kayaking or surfing. (The average summer temperature in Cape Town is 24.3 degrees Centigrade, with January and February temperatures averaging 26 degrees Centigrade. February is the driest month of the year, with 15 mm (0.6 inches) of rain.
A bit of servant hood – by helping us run soup kitchens and feeding young kids and parents in Blikkiesdorp
A sense of self – being 10 000km from home in a caring yet exciting family encouraging them to try new things – new foods, different adventures making the experience a complete and total experience, not just a visit.
Experience has told us that when one of our people has gone over to Europe, they are welcomed with open arms in every household of the players that were here. Many of the players that have come over are coming back as soon as they can, with some already been back and coming for their 3rd visit shortly. When my son Kieran went over to Europe last year, there was much excitement and some of the players traveled 800km + to see him and spend time with him.
Every December, DBA (Deutsche Baseball Akademie) comes over to Cape Town to play in a 9 – 11 game series against TBA (The Baseball Academy) in Cape Town over 14 days. The Age groups change year from year and this event is very well supported.
This also is a very exciting part of the Pole2Pole Baseball Programme as South Africa is VERY far off the baseball track, so to say. In a country that has many thousands of baseballers, we only have around 12 -15 that are playing outside of the country, at various levels. We have not yet been able to develop a Major League Baseballer, but we try. We are stunted here by a bit of a peculiar mindset (the world must come to us because we are Africa), but do not do much to showcase South African Baseball. Pole2Pole Baseball is the ONLY programme of its kind in South Africa, the only programme to bring and host foreigners in the country, the only programme open to all players locally not just the elite.
The P2P Inbound tours from Germany (hopefully supported by some in the USA this year) is an excellent opportunity to show the local kids and players that there is a community / family world wide that share the same passion and love for the game. Like minded people that are likely to create and forge relationships that span for lifetimes (as Georg and Mark have proven). It is an opportunity for the local kids that do not get the same opportunities as the elite players, to be part of a programme, part of a tournament based not on their skill, but their attitude and commitment to the programme. To be nurtured from U10 right through to U18 by a group of people that have no club boundaries, but just want to develop young people.
This is done through the Ucan Development Programme, that is also part of The Baseball Academy’s initiatives. UCan is the outreach programme for The Baseball Academy and while the touring DBA team is here, their training venue will be one of historically disadvantaged clubs, in the area that could and does really need some good news. While the DBA squad is training, there will be a lot of local kids just watching and supporting them building up a following with the idea of joining the DBA team for a couple of practices and then possibly playing in the curtain raiser before the main games. This is very exciting for the young fans, as some of their friends will be in the local TBA team that will also train at one of these venues. While training etc is taking place, we feed the kids and give them some memorabilia that they cherish, as it is stuff that just can not be found in South Africa.
So as you can see, this is a very exciting programme and it impacts young peoples lives on both sides of the planet.
If you would rather be on a beach, surfing, climbing mountains, staying in log cabins in the mountains with temperatures from 25 deg – 45 deg than being in the snow, then this is the place to be.