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for soccer balls
send e-mail or call 718-736-8700
Stickball in Afghanistan
Streetplay is happy to report what we believe is the first game of stickball in Afghanistan. It was played this summer by some American soldiers who are stationed at a firebase in Gardez. If you think you've had to play on tough fields, check out the pix from these guys!
How it Happened
In July 2004, Streetplay received a request from Lieutenant Jim Avrams which stated:
My name is Jim Avrams, I am a Lieutenant in the Army
serving in Afghanistan. I grew up on Long Island and loved playing
stickball. I have a platoon of Infantrymen here at a Firebase in
Gardez, Afghanistan and we would love to get some stickball bats
and balls (a lot of balls, cuz if we hit it outside the FireBase,
we may not be able to retrieve them due to mines). If you could
help us out in anyway we would appreciate it and fly an American
flag over Afghanistan and send it to you. Also, there are some MPs
from Boston here and we want to kick their asses in stickball.
Streetplay quickly responded, letting Lt. Avrams know we'd
take care of this, hopefully by getting a donation of materials,
but paying for it ourselves if not. We also said that in addition
to the stickball supplies, we'd send some materials that kids over
there could play with as well. Not only would
we like to help our troops' morale, but we'd also like the kids growing
up to think of Americans as generous people who cared about them.
Who knows, perhaps an Afghani adult unsure about America's intentions who sees
this might not participate in an anti-American act.
Lt. Avrams wrote back appreciating the reply and offered to play a game on Sept 11, fly an American Flag over the compound and to send us a shot. He also let us know some more about the issues they faced:
A little info about us. Not only is the Military here
trying to defeat the Taliban, AQ, and HIG forces, we are also trying
to rebuild the country and establish a central government. We do
this by establishing voter registration sites with the UN, digging
wells and building schools. Most of the guys here are from the 34th
Infantry Division of the Iowa National Guard, Other smaller groups
are MP's from the 101st Airborne, Special Forces out of Fort Bragg,
and members of the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion out of Rochester,
NY. The Civil Affairs team does most of the Humanitarian Aid distribution
and decides where schools etc. will go. I can't tell you a whole
lot more than that since this is not a secure network, but that
is the basics.
We get some baseball games on TV on the armed forces network,
but have to be up at 0430-0500 to catch them. For instance, a few
of us will be up to watch Yankees-Redsox on ESPN Sunday night Baseball
tonite which won't come on for us until early Monday morning.
Anything you could do to help us would be great and would increase
the Morale of the troops.
Thanks to the generosity of Skybounce (who donated
a box of balls and some bats), Tutto Calcio Soccer and Sports
Equipment who donated a dozen soccer balls and the home made
touch of Streetplay's own Hugh McNally, who added a bunch of stickball
bats to the mix, we were able to ship off a good package of materials.
Lt. Avrams received the materials and sent us these notes:
Received all the items and had our first "exhibition"
game yesterday. Never had a game called on account of AK47 shots
fired, but there is a first time for everything. Luckily the shots
were not at us, it was a wedding party celebration not far from
Here are some pix. It's hard as hell to catch a ground ball
on gravel, bad hops all day long.