I’ve grown up around the classic American game: baseball. My dad was a catcher who, if he hadn’t injured his knees, would have had the opportunity to play for the San Francisco Giants. My older brother Jack has been playing ball since he could walk. Even when he was a toddler, he went through a phase where he would wear a catcher’s mask everywhere he went.
Jack left SAS his sophomore year to pursue his dream of baseball at Hill School, a boarding school outside of Philadelphia. Like many other baseball players at SAS, he found that living in Singapore didn’t give him the chance to showcase himself to recruiters. In order to get his name out there, he went to the Hill School for one reason: to play baseball.
Jack was the only underclassman to make varsity baseball and he won the Robins Baseball Trophy, an award that the Hill School gives away every year to the best pitcher on the team. But the honors have come at a price.
“I thought leaving Singapore wasn’t too hard at first, but once those initial feelings of homesickness started to kick in, it was a little difficult. That being said, I definitely think that the opportunities that The Hill has granted me and being in the States was worth taking the risk,” Jack said.
Recently, Jack received letters from both Tulane University and Georgetown University asking him to visit and check out their schools and their baseball programs. Tulane has also offered him a scholarship.
My younger brother, Charlie, an 8th grader, also has baseball dreams. He is hoping to go to the Hill School as well, and has sent in his application and completed several interviews. He is hoping that he’ll get the chance to play alongside his big brother.
“The reason why baseball is better in America is because there are more opportunities because you can play baseball throughout the summer, and if you are looking for a college in America there are more scouts. Also, there is a better chance you will be seen,” Charlie said.
However, if you are serious about baseball but don’t want to leave Singapore, your options have recently increased. Baseball is growing in popularity on the island. Just last December, five Division One colleges and three Major League Baseball scouts came to SAS to watch some of our players play. This was the first baseball showcase ever in Singapore.
Playing baseball in Asia has the added advantage of providing many different travel opportunities that wouldn’t be open to a player in the States. It’s not uncommon for players in Singapore to travel to the Philippines, Dubai, Japan, Australia and Italy for tournaments and training
“Being a competitive player in Singapore is different than playing in the U.S., as baseball is not a popular sport in Singapore. It’s harder to go to showcases. However, The Hit Factory, a growing baseball club in Singapore, is helping grow baseball throughout Southeast Asia. So I am thankful to The Hit Factory and I am very happy playing baseball in Singapore,” sophomore Kio Underwood said.
The process of getting to where Jack is today wasn’t easy for him, nor is it for other kids hoping to play for a Division One college team, regardless of whether they play in Singapore or in the U.S. To make it to the college level, players need to devote their lives to baseball.
To pursue baseball seriously, you need to have commitment, composure and courage. Growing up around baseball, I’ve witnessed Jack overcome all the struggles of becoming who he is now – not only as a ball player – but as a person. The bases he ran through to be taken seriously on the mound have made him who he is today.