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NEW YORK SOLDIER WANTS TO CHANGE THE GAME IN AFGHANISTAN

NEW YORK SOLDIER WANTS TO CHANGE THE GAME IN AFGHANISTAN

(Photo by Eric Lippmann (U.S. Navy))                            

A New York soldier stationed in Afghanistan wants to bring a quintessentially American export to the children there: baseball.

"Right now, they play soccer with found round objects," Army Cpl. Brendan Rogak said from a province in central Afghanistan on Tuesday. "Most of them have never heard of baseball before, except overhearing us talk about it. They don't have any fields or gloves or balls. I just think it'll be a cool thing to do."

In high school, the Brooklyn-born, 6-foot-1 28-year-old pitched for Lawrence Woodmere Academy, leading his team to a 2001 conference championship. "If we can get the kids here interested in the game, it can also teach them leadership, teamwork, honesty, integrity, things like that. Baseball's a good part of where I learned those things. If nothing else, it'll be good exercise."

He expects to learn, too: "They're gonna teach me a lot about the world."

Rogak is part of Delta Company, 489th Civil Affairs Battalion, out of Knoxville, Tenn.

His squad's job is to build rapport with local Afghan leaders and the general population. The unit has built schools and hospitals in the mountainous, war-torn country, and yesterday, Rogak and his colleagues distributed school supplies to a group of 7- to 12-year-olds.

Unfortunately, they don't have any baseball equipment to give. (more)

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Article by JOANNA MOLLO, NY Dailey News | Read full article here

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