Last year, the Raivel family hosted players for the Cal Ripken World Series for the first time. Jason and Jenny Raivel opened their home to Luis and Francisco, two players from the Dominican Republic in 2011. The Raivels treated the players as their own – piling Luis and Francisco into the family car alongside their 13-year old daughter, Jordan, and their 11-year old son, Matt. Shuttling everyone to games and practices, feeding everyone’s growing appetite, and of course, adopting the Dominican Republic as their team throughout the mid-August tournament.
They did everything that typically comes with having 12-year-old ballplayers in your house. As temporary members of the Raivel family, Luis and Francisco weren’t even excluded from the intense family game of “Punch Buggy.”
Months later, when asked to write and deliver a speech about an important event in her life at her eighth grade convocation, Jordan Raivel chose to talk about the Cal Ripken World Series and the Host Family experience.
Here is what she wrote:
The Cal Ripken World Series and World Peace
By Jordan Raivel
Have you ever thought world peace was unattainable? So did I. That is, until I witnessed it on the baseball field. Ever since I watched the news when I was little, I was always upset by the stories of people going against people, countries fighting countries. That is when my personal quest for world peace began. Thus far, my quest has included solving conflicts with friends to raising a service dog and my family’s latest adventure, being a Host Family for the Cal Ripken World Series.
The Cal Ripken World Series is a ten-day long baseball tournament in Aberdeen, Maryland. Baseball has always been one of my favorite sports, and after going to one of the tournament games two years ago with my dad, I decided that I wanted to become an ambassador for a team and become a Host Family. My mom and dad thought that this would be a great opportunity to meet people from around the world, and agreed to do it. My family then became a Host Family for two boys from the Dominican Republic, 12 year old Luis and 13 year old Francisco. My brother became a bat boy for the team, and I was their ambassador. Along with meeting many people from the Dominican Republic, I met people from Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Canada, and Mexico. I also met people from different states, including North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Hawaii.
Throughout the tournament, I realized that the stadium was basically like a mini United Nations, not just because people from other countries were there, but because everyone got along through their common passion for baseball. I remember on the first day of the tournament, I was in line to get lunch at the cookout, standing behind a player from North Carolina. While there, a random player from Canada walked up to the boy in front of me and exclaimed, “Hey! What’s up?” And they continued to have a conversation, as if they had known each other forever. I realized that this was so strange to me because I had never seen it before. I was so used to people ignoring each other, only caring about themselves and not caring about other people. But even just saying a simple “hello” could make things better. This showed me that the world can get along, if we just step out of our comfort zones and try.
I also realized that the world can get along if we all learn and accept each other’s customs. For example, the “Punch Buggy” game is very intense in my family. After realizing that Luis and Francisco had no idea what we were doing, and why we were screaming random colors and punching each other, I explained to them how to play. A couple of days later, while in a store, Luis walked up to me, nonchalantly tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Punch Buggy-silver…no punch back” while pointing out the window. Sure enough, there was a silver punch buggy right outside the window. This is a smaller example of learning other peoples’ customs, and trying them out as your own, which can carry into things such as accepting other people’s religions and ways of living.
I believe that if we all tried to achieve world peace, our world would be a much better place. Not just because peace is considered “important” but because if we gain world peace now, other problems in our society can be solved. No more war coverage on the news, no more bomb drills in foreign countries. Now, after going through the Cal Ripken World Series experience, I do believe that world peace can be attained, one punch buggy at a time.
The Raivel family chose to continue their new family tradition by hosting two players from the Dominican Republic for the 2012 Cal Ripken World Series.