Rollins had role in Uganda's Series win

Rollins
Rollins
Posted: August 24, 2012

WHEN THE Ugandan Little League baseball team became the first squad from an African nation to win a game at the Little League World Series, the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins tweeted: "Congratulations to Uganda for their first ever LLWS victory! Their story is just beginning." Rollins played a huge role in making the win possible.

Flash back to the summer of 2011. The Ugandan team qualified for the Series and was supposed to play the Canadian team from Langley, British Columbia. But the Ugandans were denied entrance into the United States because of a lack of documentation. Documentation? This country epitomizes poverty. Where paved roads are a luxury. Where youngsters play soccer on rock-strewn streets barefooted. Third World? Uganda might be Fourth World. Birth certificates? Records?

Outrage soon followed and some folks even acted upon it. This past January, the team from Langley, some Canadian activists and a few donors took the game to Uganda. It was dubbed "The Pearl of Africa Series."

Rollins, through filmmaker Jay Shapiro, got involved. He donated $10,000, through the Jimmy Rollins Family Foundation, to help with expenses. Rollins then went the extra yard - or 5,000 miles. He and his then-pregnant wife, Jahari, made the trip to Africa. According to Y! Sports' Pete Lieber, Rollins "brought batting gloves, gum, candy, mitts and shoes. He worked with infielders. He coordinated. He instructed coaches on better ways to teach the game. He introduced drills. He went to parties, participated in talent shows, visited the homes of players, the schools of orphans and refugees, toured the beleaguered streets."

Rollins will host the Ugandan team at Citizens Bank Park this week during the Phillies' homestand and the players will receive big-league treatment.

ESPN analyst Nomar Garciaparra responded to Rollins' congratutory tweet with one of his own, "@JimmyRollins11 they just dedicated their victory to you. You have made a huge impact my friend."

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