Back from Cuba, West Hartford coaches talk triumph over tribulation

WEST HARTFORD -- For the second year in a row players and parents from West Hartford have returned from the USA-Cuba Goodwill Baseball Tour which aims to bring cultures together using Baseball as the bond.

After a successful inaugural campaign in 2016 the rural Holguin Province, this year's team had a few curves thrown their way. No official games between the West Hartford team and their Cuban counterparts took place.

"We have to be prepared for whatever comes our way," said Tim Brennan, head coach and director of Teen Cultures Connect. "There was a miscommunication between our tour operator and local officials so we found another way."

Brennan and fellow coaches began organizing pick up ball games on makeshift fields, all the while successfully delivering thousands of pounds of school supplies and baseball equipment to the local Cuban kids. "Just the connections we made and the benefit of having an informal setting, in some ways, better accomplished our goals," Brennan said. "We gave them baseball equipment and school supplies and they really needed it." Brennan added that the main objective -- connecting cultures and meeting people on a one to one basis -- was the most gratifying part of the excursion. "The thing that really matters," he said, "is that we went to Cuba to meet people and connect with them and that's what we did."

Fellow coach David Kenna, whose son Brian plays for the West Hartford team said, "We did rally and I think what ended up being the final result was a great thing and a learning experience, for the kids and the adults."