Women's Softball

OCU Softball Team returns from Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA - The Ohio Christian University Softball team just returned from a mission trip to Costa Rica. "It was an eye opening, life changing experience," stated Pitcher Taylor Moore (SO/Hilliard, OH), "It made me grateful to be able to go out and play the game of softball." Coach Kelsey Chapman will take you through their trip.
Our trip started out just fine with an early 3 am departure from Ohio Christian University to head to the Columbus airport.  From Columbus we landed in Miami, and then we were informed that our plane flight to Costa Rica was canceled.  We quickly found out that there was a volcano erupting in Costa Rica that was covering the runway of the airport in ash, so we were unable to fly there.  We all couldn't believe that was actually happening, but we knew God was in control and hopefully we would be able to get to Costa Rica soon.  
Our plane flight was rescheduled to much later that evening and we were able to arrive in Costa Rica around 9 pm.  There is a two hour time difference in Costa Rica and Ohio, so many of our girls were exhausted by the time we reached our final destination around 10 pm.  We stayed in San Jose, in a building called La Villa with our trusty guard dog Kaiser Blitzen.  The Villa was an open concept home with many bunk beds, several bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining hall, and back patio.  The temperature was always a wonderful 70 to 80 degrees during the day and a breezy 50 at night, so the cool air would always blow through the Villa giving us a comfortable stay. 
While in Costa Rica our two main activities were games and clinics.  Softball is not yet a big sport in Costa Rica, as it is just now starting to develop, so it was fun for our girls to be able to teach and instruct others about the sport they love.  Costa Rica has one league with five teams in it, and they pull the best players in the league to make the national team.  We played three games against the Costa Rica national team.  While we won pretty easily the first time, the Costa Rica team got better and better each time we played.  By the third game we were mixing our players between the two teams to create some even competition and it was awesome to see the fun both teams were having.  In addition to the games, we put on five clinics.  
Two of our clinics were held at universities near San Jose.  We taught a class of physical education majors how to coach a softball practice.  This way when they became teachers they would be able to teach their gym classes how to play.  We also gave a clinic at a local catholic high school.  We taught a female gym class for the day and showed them how to throw, catch, and field ground balls.  Our last two clinics were given to the 5 league teams.  These girls absorbed every ounce of information we gave them.  The most difficult part of playing the games and giving the clinics was trying to translate our softball terms into Spanish.  There were many times when our translator had to use literal translations and both our team and the Costa Ricans got a great laugh.  One of our most common used phrases that all the girls picked up on and learned to say was "dos manos" which means two hands.  We had to say this many times while teaching the softball fundamentals. 
After every clinic and game we played, our bus driver Salvador shared the gospel.  Even if you could not speak Spanish and did not understand what he was saying you still wanted to listen.  Salvador had a gift for sharing the gospel and people would listen.  He was a great example to all of us that you do not have to have a degree or formal training to be a voice for the Lord.  He was an incredible bus driver with an incredible ability to speak the truth about Christ. 
The week flew by with many amazing memories and laughable moments, and it was soon time to go home.  Our trip home was just as eventful as the trip down, as we were again delayed and then forced to spend the night in Miami.  We finally returned safely back home the next day. 
While I could go on and on about the many things we said and did while in Costa Rica, I think the most important part of the trip was how our players were transformed.  Christ used this trip to work not only in the lives of the Costa Rican people, but in the lives of our girls.  From a coach’s perspective, it was amazing to see the confidence building in each of the girls as they became coaches themselves during the clinics.  It made me so proud to see them teaching and instructing and being confident in their knowledge of the game.  The other amazing part was the openness each girl began to develop.  Many girls were able to express struggle, hardship, and personal thoughts in ways I had never heard before during the season.  This further deepened their bond as a team and as sisters in Christ.  This trip helped our team to see what really matters - anchoring their lives in Christ, serving him, and developing lasting relationships.