Every weekend dozens of Venezuelans meet in Bogotá to play softball, their “king” sport. The images seem to be from any playing field in a city Venezuelan, but in reality they correspond to the Ciudad Montes baseball stadium, in the Colombian capital, where the Venezuelan diaspora has stopped feeling that they are in a foreign land.
Every Saturday from 10 in the morning until late in the afternoon, the players arrive accompanied by their families who from the stands begin to remember those softball Sundays in Venezuela.
“We are baseball fans, but since we don’t have baseball here, so we have softball and it’s the other option we have to be a little closer to Venezuela,” he told the voice of americaLizari Silva, who does not miss an opportunity to come to “encourage” her son and, incidentally, take the opportunity to talk and make new friends.
The phenomenon is not new. A few years ago, the Bogotá Softball League, of an amateur nature, began to support the teams that made up the migrant community, with which the practice of the sport in the city began to increase notably.
“At the beginning the level was not the best, but as the years went by and with the Venezuelan exodus many people began to arrive with a very good level, so now it is much easier to form a team because when I arrived here there were only two teams and now there are 20 teams made up of Venezuelans,” Reinaldo Yajure, from the Toros de Bogotá team, told VOA, who arrived in the Colombian city eight years ago from his native country where he worked as a bank employee.
In a country and in a city where the most popular sports are soccer and cycling, the Venezuelan migrant community has gradually begun to integrate softball into Colombian customs, which is basically a variation of baseball where you hit one more ball. large with a bat and in which the throw is made under the shoulder.
The “ball players” not only meet on weekends, they also do it a few times during the week to train and de-stress a bit from daily work. In addition, thanks to the fact that the practice has increased, several schools are already being started that are dedicated to the training of the youngest.
“The school is called Leones de Bogotá, where we serve children from the age of four to sixteen in their different categories, there are Venezuelan children, but there is also a large population of Colombian children,” said Geric Solórzano, coach of the Leones team.
Finally, the practice promoted by the Venezuelans has generated that in the large Colombian cities people are beginning to familiarize themselves with the words “pitcher”, “outfielders”, “innings” or that they recognize the “catcher”.