By STEVE KRAH
Baseball coaches from the Hoosier State received a visit from the other side of the globe.
They showed hospitality to this visitor along with knowledge about the game.
Peter Imonikhe John, C.E.O of Baseball Tomorrow Academy, traveled 6,000 miles from Nigeria to Indianapolis to attend the recent Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association State Clinic.
“I love the state of Indiana,” says John. “I love the coaches of baseball. They shared a lot of things with me.”
After corresponding with IHSBCA executive director Brian Abbott, the African made the xxx-mile trip and spent three days attending clinic presentations and talking with the state’s baseball leaders.
“I came from Nigeria sponsored by the U.S. Embassy,” says John. “I was able to achieve a lot of things. I learned about pitching mechanics, the infield and outfield, the relationship between the coaches and players and also the relationship between coaches and parents.
“Also, how to recognize players. The (IHSBCA) Hall of Fame (dinner), I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”
John is attempting to make baseball more popular in Nigeria. Soccer is now regarded as the No. 1 sport in that country of more than 150 million.
According to its website, Baseball Tomorrow Academy was established in 2013 and began operation in 2014 as a non-governmental organization that promotes life values through the sports of baseball and softball.
The idea is to keep youth away from drug and alcohol abuse, human trafficking and other problems they face in Nigera while also promoting community pride and economic development and growing the future mentors and leaders.
“The sport of baseball is there to empower them,” says John. “We use it to convince them that if they are playing this game, they are mentally fit and they don’t need to do bad things.”
According to its mission statement, BTA seeks to:
• Increase participation and interest in Baseball and Softball among undeserved children, adolescent and youth.
• Encourage academic participation and achievement among the athletes.
• Increase the number of talented athletes prepared to play in colleges and minor league.
• Promote greater inclusion of minorities into the mainstream of the game of baseball and softball.
• Teach the value of teamwork and spirit of sportsmanship, which is reflected in the pledge of Little League baseball and softball.
John was first introduced to baseball as a secondary school student in 1989 and played in leagues, which eventually went away.
“The game actually died down and now we are trying to bring it back,” says John. “We will have a full league begin play this year.”
The Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association welcomed a visitor from Nigeria to the 2018 state clinic. Flanking Baseball Tomorrow Academy C.E.O. Peter Imonikhe John (third from left) are Scott Hughes, Brian Abbott, Jeff McKeon, Mark Grove and Terry McManama. (Steve Krah Photo)
Peter Imonikhe John is C.E.O of Baseball Tomorrow Academy, a Nigerian organization promoting baseball and softball. With the help of the U.S. Embassy, he attended the 2018 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association State Clinic in Indianapolis. (Steve Krah Photo)