Joseph parents are both from the Philippines where baseball, although growing, still isn't exactly a household sport. When they arrived in Canada back in the mid-2000's, neither Edna or Gilmartin even thought that their son Joseph would have visions of one day rounding third base and hoisting a World Series Championship trophy. To be able to dream like that in such colour is almost a gift and one that children unabashedly take on without the understanding of what it truly takes to absorb all of the costs that can come with playing an organized sport.
Thanks to the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation and its in-house Youth Baseball League, nearly 300 children from all across the Lower Mainland can dream without worry as thanks to your generosity, kids like Joseph and all of his friends from The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Coast B.C. can enjoy playing baseball, cost-free. And it's more than just the baseball, we transport the children from all 11 participating BGC locations, feed them and provide them with the equipment, coaching, and mentorship all while they simply 'play' and enjoy being a child.
Here's a look at Joseph's day, from his 11-year old perspective;
7:00am - "I wake up."
7:15am - "I wake up again, this time I have too."
8:00am - "My friend at school plays catch with me so I bring my glove there. I got this one (glove) from the league last year, and it still fits."
10:15am - "So, when it rains we can't throw the ball inside of the gym and we just do grounders. The teachers don't really mind so we do it."
12:10pm - Joseph makes his own lunch which today looks a little too healthy for a prototypical 11-year old. "So, if I eat too much then I can't play well. I just eat when I get to baseball and it's always good."
2:00pm - "So, when I am in the afternoon, I am looking outside at the clouds. My hope is that even when it rains we can still play. Yeah, I love it."
3:15pm - The bell rings and out the door goes Joseph who is lucky as his Boys & Girls Clubs of South Coast B.C. location is relatively close-by. "We all get to eat a snack and play for a bit before we get into the bus for the games."
4:30pm - When asked if he sings on his way over to the ballpark, Joseph states, "Mostly just the girls. But, if they sing a good song then, maybe."
5:00pm - The bus pulls up to the third-base side of historic Scotiabank Field and kids begin to spill out from all of the shuttles from across the Lower Mainland. Most kids don't actually speak to those from other locations - at least not until they get into line for the freshly cut watermelon and piping hot dogs. "So, sometimes we play before the food and sometimes after. If you play after, sometimes I watch the kids eating and wish I was them when it's not my turn to hit." Ah, yes - the power of a child's honesty.
5:10pm - All children stop to sing the National Anthem and say the pledge of the Vancouver Canadians Youth Baseball League. One that commits to fair play, being the best player they can be both on and off the field and most importantly the promise to have fun. We tried to get a quote here from Joseph, but he was long gone, off to Field 3 to play his first game.
7:30pm - With the sun still an hour or so from tucking itself behind the mountains of the North Shore and beyond, the kids wrap up their final moments on the diamond and head back toward the vans and buses. Most of them have found a way to get dirty - some more than others - and to be honest, as a Youth Baseball League there is a little pride in that.
7:50pm - Joseph heads home to do a little homework and eat, again. Hey, he's a growing boy and his family wants to know how the day was. It's in this time where you begin to see the true benefits of the Vancouver Canadians Youth Baseball League. A child gets the chance to play baseball, develop skills that will benefit him both on and off of the field. His parents get the chance to focus on other expenses without the worry of a pending bill from this extra-curricular endeavour, and most importantly, it brings a family together - thanks to a game that although might not be familiar to everyone, is a sport that can bring us all together.