Cal Ripken, Jr. Leads International Sports Exchange with Japan

September 14, 2012

Cal Ripken, Jr.

Public Diplomacy Envoy

Hey, my name is Cal Ripken and I’m a Sports Diplomat.

Going over there now, yes you’re aware of the tsunami, you’re aware of the earthquake, and you’re aware of the situation that the country is in. Well I think part of this trip to Japan would be—we just want people to feel better. And uh, since we both share a love of baseball, it’s almost a little bit of an escape. And you get back in touch with some of these good feelings, it makes you feel really good, and all of a sudden you feel better. You know baseball is, is a hard sport, it’s a different sport, um, but it still has its magical value when you start to teach it or start to exchange you know the secrets of the sport. You start to really connect with the sports enthusiasts but you really connect with people. I found myself challenged to actually teach it and demonstrate it. And then it’s a universal language—then you start seeing the smiles in the faces of the kids. And in some ways, it was a very rigid environment. But then we were able to loosen up the kids in a free-play sort of sense, which really got us all to connect in ways that sometimes you struggle with from a form of an icebreaker. And I love the interaction when you’re teaching baseball with a kid. And I love to see the face light up when something good happens.