VietNamNet Bridge – Third-year Ha Noi University student Le Ngoc Anh, 21, has organised training at his Fishanu baseball club since it’s founding in Ha Noi last year.
Hanoi: Youngsters play baseball
In the swing: A player on the Fishanu baseball team trains at Ha Noi University Stadium. (Photo: VNS) The Hanoian youngster is one of the club’s best players, despite only playing for four months, yet absorbing the rules and tactics has been a six month trial.
Anh, who plays second base, said he fell in love with the sport as soon as began training last May.
"I played football and badminton before starting with baseball. I enjoy the teamwork and the level of concentration required. I’ve also got to learn more about baseball culture when training with students from different countries," said Anh, who is student at the international studies faculty.
"The sport doesn’t require you to be as strong physically as when playing football. It needs concentration from players, who must keep their eye on the ball all the time. Of course, you have to also spot your team-mates’ run or moves, whenever the batter hits the ball," Anh explained.
Nguyen Thi Quynh, 21, was one of six female players in the team when she joined the club last year.
"I take part in hip-hop dance course at the University and play shuttlecock kicking regularly. Then some of my friends invited me play baseball, so I gave it a try. Baseball is a pretty new sport in Viet Nam, and quite a few young people are getting into it," she said.
Quynh, who studies French, said she often tells her male team-mates to not make any concessions when it comes to pitching.
"They tend to pitch more softly because I’m a girl, but I tell them to treat me like one of the boys. Don’t treat me like a kid. It’s a sport and we have a united strong squad," Quynh laughed.
She said she is a sports-crazy girl who also plays badminton, but baseball has lured her after just a few weeks practice.
Quynh said catching the ball is an easy skill, but it would take her some time before she would be able to play the sport well.
Two years ago, Chau Quoc Hung, who developed his baseball initiative into a graduate thesis, and his classmates began training with the sport last year under coaching of American teacher Douglas Jardine.
Hung has been chairman of Fishanu team since last year. It’s the second baseball team in Ha Noi after Ha Noi Baseball Club.
Despite a shortage of facilities, the 40-member team have trained twice a week on Saturday and Sunday at Ha Noi University Stadium.
Most of gloves, catcher masks, balls and baseball bats were donated by volunteers and a Japanese teacher at the University.
"We wanted to develop an actual baseball team in future. But we’re having to build the foundation of the team from a set of skilful beginners. The team-members have to pay a monthly fee of VND30,000 (US$1.5) for the training," said Hung.
"The team were originally coached by teacher Douglas Jardine and Venezuelan Angel Bastidas Gonzalez, who works at the Venezuelan Embassy in Ha Noi. But now, only Angel and the Japanese teacher Miyazaki Takahiko coach the team four hours every Sunday," he said.
The team have sought sponsorship to play domestic and foreign friendlies as well as organising a tournament in Viet Nam with four teams from HCM City.
Japanese teacher Miyazaki has coached the team since last May. He also provides the team with balls that he get as donations from his friends in Japan.
"I saw them play an unskilful baseball last May when I came here, but they have progressed with pitching and batting. I spend most of my time instructing them to pitch the ball, because they are all beginners," the Japanese teacher said.
"I’ve been here a year and I really want to stay longer because I like it in Ha Noi and, practising baseball with them," the Osaka-based teacher added.
Seiji Adachi, 27, who studies Vietnamese at the University, assists juniors with their first steps in baseball.
"I just instruct newcomers in terms of rules and techniques. However, they need to concentrate on playing, not get distracted by other things," Seiji said.
"Team members are full-time students, so they just play at weekend as entertainment. I think, they will become a good team in the next few years if they work harder," he added.
Due to a lack of funds, the team still lacks some vital equipment.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
Please send us your comments and feedback:
Your browser does not support inline frames or is currently configured not to display inline frames.