By Daniel Tokar
As an 11-year-old boy was shopping at a store with his mother, he overheard a conversation about some kind of sport, baseball. Baseball in Belgium isn’t a sport you would commonly hear about, because it is primarily an American sport.
The boy is now 16 years old as a foreign exchange student at Delta High School. Before Matteo Cadeddu came to Delta, he fell in love with baseball in Belgium.
Matteo has been playing baseball in Belgium for over five years now. He didn’t know what the sport was when he heard about it.
Frederick Momentallo, Matteo’s baseball coach from Belgium, has been playing baseball for over 40 years. He was at the market that day with a couple of his players, and they were talking about baseball.
“I just went to them, and they were talking about, ‘What is the sport? Where did it come from?’ ” Matteo said. “It wasn’t very interesting at first, but now I have been playing baseball for five years.”
In Belgium, baseball isn’t a common sport, so they don’t have enough players of similar age to be on the same team. This leads teams to have players of diverse ages.
Matteo has been playing on his team with adults at different ages.
“It’s not easy, because they have a different aspect of the sport, but I think that teams that have all the ages in it make links between the people and to develop a strategy that is different from the other teams,” Matteo said.
Matteo tried soccer for a year before playing baseball, but he decided that baseball was the sport for him.
Bocce ball was also a big part of Matteo’s life.
Before baseball and bocce ball, Matteo when he was young fell in love with music. Since then he has played piano for about nine years.
“I think that the piano is an instrument where you can express emotion easily,” Matteo said.
The hardest song that took him a year to master was Chopin, a 5-minute piano song by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
In Matteo’s lifetime, he has been traveling with his family since he was three years old. He has been to five of the seven continents: Africa, South America, North America, Europe and Asia.
Out of all of the places he has been, his favorite has been the United States.
“I wanted to understand more of the culture of the United States, the citizens, and to visit cities,” Matteo said. “I love it. I like the baseball games, I like the schools, and the people, and I think it is a good state and a good country.”
In addition to the United States, Matteo also loved Mexico.
“I would say Mexico, because I love the cities, the people, everyone was happy” Matteo said.
Sadly, Matteo is planning to leave after this semester to go back home to Belgium. His plan in Belgium is to finish school and to get better and better at baseball.
http://www.dhseagleseye.com/2022/11/02/a-new-experience/ : Feature story over Matteo’s life in America.