Cooperstown, NY is where it all began…the mythical birthplace of baseball. While the stories of who invented the sport vary depending on who you ask, the draw of Cooperstown, NY to baseball fans, young and old, make a trip there a must! The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum first opened its doors in 1939 and has welcomed millions over the years who celebrate our national pastime. Many wait a lifetime, having Cooperstown on their ‘bucket list’ to visit, but for one group of 12 year olds on the GRIT 12U (Game Ready Intense Training), a travel baseball team, their trip to Cooperstown will not only include a trip to the Hall of Fame and the regular site-seeing, but an opportunity to play in a tournament at the Cooperstown Dreams Park, and it just doesn’t get better than that!
As the team prepares, with practices and training, to play in Cooperstown Dreams Park, they are also fundraising, because the trip will cost around $1,100 per player, as well as per coach. Experiencing a week of baseball with your teammates and coaches is every ballplayer’s dream come true, even more so at 12 years old. The GRIT 12U team will be facing ninety-six teams from around the country and while it is a great honor, it comes with a hefty cost. “For all of our GRIT Teams, we hold tryouts in the offseason and players are selected after that process. Unlike other teams or organizations, GRIT are travel teams with players from Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Wilkesboro, Eden – all the way to Charlotte and Raleigh. The $1,100 per player and coach is just the cost to participate and doesn’t include travel expenses, so we are currently looking for donations to help offset the costs for the players. We are looking at a minimum of $15,000 for the team just to play,” said Jason Culler, Director of Player Development. To play in this tournament is very special honor and usually takes several years to be selected to participate due to the wait list, but the GRIT 12U team was chosen and have had only 6 months to raise their funds.
For the players, it’s not just about the tournament – it’s coming together in a place that, for baseball fans and players, is sacred. “Dreams Park has 25 fields where the teams play, along with bunks where they stay on the property. It truly is an experience the players, coaches and parents will never forget,” Jason commented.
In the 1989 movie, ‘Field of Dreams,’ one of the most remembered lines was ‘If you build it they will come.’ The same can be said about all that Cooperstown, NY has to offer, but most importantly all that the Cooperstown Dreams Park tournament has to offer. Since it was built, they continue to come, to play and have an experience of a lifetime. Not many times come along in one’s life where you can live the dream and make memories to last a lifetime. For the GRIT 12U team, they have trained and honed their skills to participate in this tournament, but need financial contributions to make this dream come true.
Donations to the GRIT 12U team are tax deductible and can be mailed to GRIT, 162 Hillsdale West, Advance, NC 27006 or contact Jason Culler at 336-407-0983 for more details.