Ben Reeser reports from Fayetteville, N.C., where he is playing for the SwampDogs along with Illini teammates Aaron Martin, Nick Chmielewski and John Schlichter.
June 13, 2008
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Hey, Illini fans! We are now well underway with our new summer teams. There are some familiar faces but also many new players. Summer baseball is truly a unique experience. Each summer team is limited to four players from any given college team. This gives us a chance to get to know players from different schools from all over the country. Whether it is learning from their different style of play or telling stories on the bus, we learn a lot from each other.
With the start of every season you are going to have your ups and downs and here in Fayetteville it was no different. Most of us arrived May 26th, we had one practice on May 27th and we had to be ready for our first game on the 28th. Needless to say we were going to have a few kinks, and with that in mind, we've done OK with our current 7-7 record.
In addition to learning the names, schools, and playing styles of 25 other players and coaches, we are deeply immersed in the interesting and often comical process of getting to know a new family. To help keep our cost of living down, we are given host families to live with for the summers. We often begin the summer as complete strangers and by the time we go back to school we are, well, family.
Summer baseball is a time where we can meet new people, live with a new family, and learn a lot about baseball. Ultimately, we are here to get better for our respective schools, so we are all working hard because this truly is a situation where get out of it what we put into it.