Youth sports offer hope and opportunity to children around the world, helping them to learn teamwork and other skills essential to achieving their dreams. Many young people have lifted themselves out of poverty through dedication to sport— some by excelling in competition, but many more through the avenues that competive athletics open up to them.
In particlular, baseball and softball offer an ideal mix of opportunity for individual achievement and coopertive team play. Unlike sports whose outcomes are determined almost entirely by athletic prowess, baseball and softball require strategic thinking and mental disciple. Many professional baseball players have pointed out the challenge posed by staying mentally focused in the field while pitch after pitch is thrown— not to mention the patiencce and self-disciple required to step back in the box after striking out in your last at-bat.
The story has been told in country after country. In Venezuela, thousands of teams now compete in hundreds of leagues, including several highly-regarded seasonal leagues that attract talented players from around the world— not to mention considerable foreign investment. Venezuelan baseball has not only offered a postive activity for young people there, it has helped to bring international respect and attention to their country with the help of Venezuelan stars in the Major Leagues, including Louis Aparicio, Miguel Cabrera and Omar Vizquel.
A similar tale can be told in Nicaragua. To get a sense of how much Nicaraguans love their baseball, one only need hear the nickname that they now call their native son, former Major League picher Dennis Martinez, who is know to has countrymen as "El Presidente."
Baseball and softball are already beginning to have similar positive effects in many African nations. Baseball and softball leagues offer hope, jobs, education, and a path out of poverty to young people in countries across the continent. However, limited resources pose a serious obstacle. BASFA is dedicated to the proposition that international assitance can make an enormous difference in helping to build baseball and softball leagues in some of the world's most impoverished nations, thereby helping to build stronger communities, combatting poverty, and helping to combat the spread of disease.