Soccer and rugby share fields like bitter siblings. Due to the sports requiring similar dimensions, clubs and schools often designate the same playing areas to both. Complain as their patrons might, their lot is more fortunate than that afforded to players of more outlandish sports. Take baseball, the second cousin twice-removed of South African athletic culture. How do you find space for a diamond in a world of circles and rectangles? But this is changing, in the most unlikely place.
The Alexandra Baseball Club has been running for a decade now, under the guidance of Tedius Mncube. Club founder, coach and mentor, he’s best described as a father figure to his players. Mncube chose to pitch baseball to the kids of his community for the same reason that he believes in each one of them – oddballs tend to surprise. Having started out without any real training or playing gear, the club has since received encouraging support from donors.
Now kitted out with pitching mounds, bases, backstops and an infield, which are all needed to play the game, Mncube’s team is thriving. He still does the rounds himself each day, traversing Alexandra to pick up all who want to play after school. He has introduced the children to an exhilarating physical activity, while giving them a safe place to spend their afternoons. Best of all, Mncube has shown them an example of the value of caring for others.
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