Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Victorious Young
NUTS (Niamey Universal Tournament of Softball) is a Softball tournament that is held in Niamey, Niger, every year during the second weekend of October. There are 2 divisions during the tournament, the Social division and the Competitive division. Sahel Academy had 3 teams this year, 2 of them in the Social division and the other one in the Competitive division. The tournament is held on 2 softball fields in Niamey. The Main field is the American Rec Center, and the other is at Sahel Academy. This article follows the competitive Sahel Academy Suns through the NUTS Tournament.Sahel Academy field: It was 7:00 am, Saturday October 9, 2008, as the prayer Sahel Academy Suns warmed up for their first competitive game of the day against the Nomads. The average age of the Suns was 23 years with the three oldest members being Uncle Tim (Tim Phillips), Uncle Brian (Brian Bliss), and Mr. Brinkley; all three are staff at Sahel Academy. The rest of the team was made up of students aged from 16-18. The Nomads started the game off as the visitors while the Suns were out in the field as the home team. The Nomads started the scorning as they managed to bring in one run in the top of the first inning. The Suns, at bat, produced 5 runs as they closed out the first inning with a 4-run lead. The Suns played well on both sides of the ball while they held the Nomads the rest of the game to no runs and scoring 11 more runs to bring the score to 16-1 in the Suns’ favor.
American Rec Center: The Suns’ next game was at 11:00 am against the Burkina Angels. The Suns were the visitors for this game and started off getting 1 run in the first inning while the Angels managed to get 4, putting the Suns down by three. The Suns went scoreless in the second inning while the angels got 2 more in the bottom of the second. Both teams shut each other out in the third inning, putting the Suns down by five going in to the top of the fourth inning. The field of play was dominated by the Suns from that point on. The Suns put up 11 points over the next 4 innings as they held the Angels to 3 runs the rest of the game. scorch themOne of the highlight throws for the Suns was a laser throw to home by the center fielder to get the runner out just before he got to the base. Sahel Suns won the game 12-9.
Sahel Academy field: 3:00 pm was the last game for the Suns on Saturday. As they had a Semi-Final spot wrapped up for Sunday, this game would determine if the Suns where first or second in the Competitive division. The visitor for the game was the US Embassy Team USA, EMB for short. EMB dominated the game as the Suns struggled to produce the same results as in their first two games of the day. The Suns lost putting them in second place of the division.
American Rec Center Competitive Semi-Finals: Sunday was the Semi-Final game between the second place Sahel Suns and the third place Burkina Angels. The game started off with neither team scoring runs in the first two innings. Burkina scored first in the third inning, bringing in 2 runs. Sahel managed to bring1 runner home. In the fourth inning, both teams scored 2 each, but Sahel was still down by 1 going into the fifth. The Angels got a run in the fifth and held Sahel to no runs. The sixth inning was a repeat of the third as Burkina extended their lead and the Suns only got 1. Bottom of the seventh was the last chance for the Suns to win. Burkina had scored two, giving them a 5 run lead; Sahel needed 6 to win; neither team had scored more than 2 points per inning. The Suns either had a to pull off a tie to play another inning or they had to score at least 7 to win the game. Sahel slowly started to bring in the runs as they brought in 3 runners. Still trailing by 2, the Sun’s first base man came up to the plate with the bases loaded. He had been hitting well throughout the tournament and was leading the team in RBI’s. He let the first pitch go then got ready for the next one. It was put right where he liked it and he drilled it out along the third base line deep into left field out of reach of the fielder. The Sahel fans and team went wild as the runners started to come in. As the batter came in to third, he had just brought in the winning runs and put Sahel into the finals!!!
American Rec Center Competitive Finals: This was it! The Sahel Academy Suns had made it to the Finals to play the first place EMB. The Suns were the away team; EMB took the field first as the home team. The Suns and EMB had played each other in several pre-tournament games with going to each of them. Both teams shut out the other as neither team scored in the first inning. The first inning was the first indication that the game was going to be hard fought. Sahel put two points up in the top of the second, holding EMB to zero with great fielding from the outfield. The third inning was another scoreless inning as both teams stayed in the game and kept the fans in the game. Sahel scored the only point in the fourth inning as Uncle Brian hit the only over-the-wall home run of the whole tournament. Sahel continued with great defense holding EMB to no runs again. The fifth inning was a scoreless one for Sahel, but EMB got 2 runs in off of a missed grounder in the outfield; as the Suns’ lead was cut to 1. Sahel responded in the top of the sixth as they drove in another run, yet again holding EMB to no runs with several amazing running catches in the outfield by the center fielder. The seventh inning was the last chance for Sahel Suns to hold the lead or for EMB to come from behind and win. Sahel put up 3 runs, wishing for more to give them a larger lead. They didn’t need it though, 100_3551 as they caught everything that came near them, with the short fielder caching the last out of the game. The Sahel Academy Suns and their fans gathered on the field hugging each other and celebrating the youngest team to ever win the NUTS Tournament as well as the first time a school team composed 81% of students has played and won competitively
Thursday, October 09, 2008
SIM Information Technology Consutation
This is just a quick note to let you know that I leave for an IT conference at SIM Int'l in Charlotte today.
The IT conference will bring together IT people from all over the SIM world, to exchange ideas, and to help each other see what is going on in different parts of the world relating to Information Technology and how it impacts missionaries on the field. Part of the reason for this is, especially in computers and communication, it is not all one world. What may work well in western countries, may not work well, or work at all in other parts of the world. This is a first time thing for SIM and it is exciting to be a part of it.
Unfortunately, the schedule is packed and the time frame in which I am stateside is short, so I will not get to see many of you. After leaving to day from Niger, I arrive late night Friday in Charlotte, and have Saturday off to reorient myself to the US. Sunday I will be going to church with a long time Niger field family, and maybe picking up some things. Sunday night kicks off the conference with a dinner at one of the organisers.
I leave Charlotte again Saturday afternoon, arriving back in Niamey Sunday evening. It looks to be a very busy week. I've joked that when I get back to Niger, I will need a vacation!
For those of you playing along at home concerning our financial partnership levels, the cost of this trip does not come out of our support fund, but is being pulled from SIM funds to make this conference happen.
We'd really love to have you pray with us concerning these things
1 - Travel mercies and safety. Good connections and little stress. Air travel is not a relaxing exercise for me.
2 - Safety and a good time for the family while I am gone. From past experience, Satan delights in having little things go wrong while I am away. Anything from plumbing to cars.
3 - While I am gone, unfortunately I will be missing one of the 2 softball tournaments that go on in West Africa, and they boys are all playing. Additionally, the week I am gone is also an off week at school, so I will doubly miss being at home! Pray that the boys will have a great tournament and Wanda will be safe driving them back and forth to the 2 different locations.
4 - Financially, we have had some very good months, but then August was lower again, and we were a little discouraged. But we just got the numbers for September, and I was so sad I even doubted God a little bit! Thank you being God's vehicle to supply our needs. There will be rough roads ahead, but we must be faithful to Him that is faithful.
Randy for Wanda Chris Justin and Noah