It’s no secret that baseball has a special connection to the United States – it is, in fact, dubbed “America’s past time.” However, the game is growing rapidly around the world, thanks to passionate youth coaches and organizations who foster a love for the game.
The Ripken Experience was lucky to host 16 international teams from 7 different countries this year, including Canada, Australia, Kuwait, The Philippines, and a very special team from Dubai: the Arabian Knights.
The team includes players from Dubai and Saudi Arabia; passport holders from Spain, Australia, The Philippines, Venezuela, Ireland, and The United States; and two recruited players from Singapore, who all traveled over 7,000 miles to compete at The Ripken Experience Myrtle Beach this summer.
According to parents and coaches, the Arabian Knights has provided a great way for kids and their families from all over the world to connect with one another.
Will Montjoy, a Bethesda, Maryland-native and lawyer for the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, has a son on the team.
“We’re really lucky because in Saudi Arabia alone, we have an organization of about 160 kids that play baseball on the compound. It’s a great way for kids to bond and make friends,” he said.
It might seem surprising, but there’s no shortage of competitive baseball in Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Knights typically play a couple games a week and have travelled to tournaments in the past. This year, the players wanted to see how they’d stack up against players in the United States, which led them to The Ripken Experience Myrtle Beach.
“As soon as we arrived at the facility, we were blown away. The umpires, fields, and competition was unparalleled to anything we had seen internationally. I can’t tell you how excited the players were to compete.”
And compete they did. The Arabian Knights went 6-1 in the Ocean Breeze Week-Long Tournament.
“It meant so much to the players to come and be successful. They’re proud to be baseball players living internationally that can stack up with players in the States,” Montjoy remarked.
Not only did the Knights compete successfully, they managed to build new friendships and introduce themselves to American teams.
“The players, parents, and coaches were so impressed with the attention to detail. From travel to lodging, you name it, there was someone there to help us,” Montjoy noted. “It made sitting back and watching our kids play the game they love that much better.”
The Knights’ tournament success at The Ripken Experience Myrtle Beach reinvigorated the team for the remainder of their seasons back in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore. Montjoy says they hope to return to play in the States next summer.
Tag(s): Coach's Clipboard