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A Lesson In Diplomacy DVD


Baseball!  The great American past time.  That’s the myth.  But America must include Cuba in her claims of dominating the world in baseball, a la the Major League’s “World Series”, because in the middle 19th century baseball was imported by Cuba and its storied history of the game parallels that of the US.  It is unfortunate that misunderstandings over 50 years ago between the US and Cuba interrupted the shared love for their past times.
However, time, people, and circumstances have changed.  So it seemed natural that the two nations could meet again on the baseball field.  Here is a story of a North American University baseball team who traveled to Cuba to test their skills against a team of Cuban all-stars in a three-game baseball series.

Grand Valley State University was the first Division II baseball team in US history to play in Cuba.  This film documents first-hand accounts of the obstacles that GVSU faced anticipating the trip, the trajectories of planning that ultimately led to its success, and the people behind the effort.

The story of the six-day visit to Havana, as told by players, coaches, and administrators, is about a baseball team, recognition of its placement in US history, and its losses and “triumphs”.  Included also is a glimpse of First Hand Aid’s work and how it was shared with the Lakers.  This story depicts an encounter with a people and culture “lost in time” and boys playing a game they love and learning lessons in diplomacy.

Thank you for your interest in our film! This is a PRE-ORDER. When the movie is ready, you may receive an email or phone call informing you of availability and shipment.

Please also note that those who went on the Grand Valley State Baseball in Cuba trip in January 2012 will all be receiving a copy of the DVD for free when they are available. For those free copies, there is no need to fill out this form. Please only fill this out for orders in addition to what you will be receiving free, if you wish to receive multiple copies. For example, if you are a baseball player here, and you are wanting 4 copies total for yourself, and for your friends/family, please purchase three (3) here. One for you is already reserved.

ALL PROFITS FROM THE SALE OF THESE DVDs WILL BE DONATED TO FIRST HAND AID! To learn more about First Hand Aid, please visit http://firsthandaid.org

Once again thank you for your support, and we hope you enjoy the film!

We accept check over the mail, or credit card online right here.

Available on backorder

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A Lesson In Diplomacy

We had many preconceived notions about Cuba, its socio-economic-political system, and its people and culture.  We had seen the iconic pictures of old cars, Old Havana, Fidel, and Che.  Official, and sometimes different, stories about the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, and repression of dissidents under communism had been described across five decades of misunderstandings between Cuba and the US.

Marc Bohland, executive director of First Hand Aid, gave us more information about Cuba based on his decade of experience traversing US and Cuban bureaucratic rules.  He told us what we might expect to see and how to act.  We were intimidated by his words of advice.

So, we still wondered, what was it really going to be like in Cuba?

Cuban government and baseball officials wanted this project to go well.  We were only going to play baseball games but, from the beginning, Fidel always politicized games, particularly baseball games.  The games were competitive, media coverage was extensive, and fans were rewarded with good baseball.

But the week in Havana was more than about baseball.  We had a Cuban’s view of its history, saw the old and new of Havana, and interacted with Cubans of all ages on Havana streets and in baseball stadiums.  As Americans who played baseball we were conversation pieces and warmly welcomed.  But contradictions were everywhere, some noticed, most not.

What we see in this image is what we will remember:  Sunshine, smiles, mothers, fathers, children, ball gloves and baseballs.  Human beings trying to connect.  Human beings that can transcend language, cultural, and political barriers, knowing that we are seeking a secure and happy place to live, freedom, fun, and sense of belonging.  We and the Cuban people were not all that different!

Reflections by:
Gordon Alderink
Former GVSU Pitching Coach
Film Co-Producer


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