The Langley All-Stars

Trip a chance to leave ‘footprint’

Work underway to send Langley All-Stars to Uganda in January

The email immediately caught the attention of Jason Andrew.

The title was ‘Uganda’ and the sender was Ruth Hoffman, a woman unknown to the Langley baseball coach.

Hoffman wanted Andrew’s baseball team, the Canadian national 11/12 Little League champions, to travel to Uganda on a goodwill mission.

“She came across very sincere and very passionate,” Andrew recalled about meeting meeting her at a Vancouver coffee shop. “That caught me right away. When somebody is that passionate, you tend to listen.”

Hoffman was proposing sending Andrew’s baseball team, the Langley All-Stars, to Uganda to face the team they were supposed to have played in Williamsport at the Little League World Series.

Uganda had won the right to represent the Middle East/Africa region but were denied visas from the U.S. State Department shortly before the August tournament because their documentation contained discrepancies.

They would have been the first team from Africa to compete at the famed tournament.

Hoffman, now living in Vancouver, had previously spent time in Africa and was connected to the sport through her three sons. Two of them represented Belgium at the senior (15/16) Little League World Series in Maine. She also had existing contacts in Uganda through her work.

“The feeling of knowing what it is like not to go, or to think they are not going and then read the story of the Ugandan kids, who come from a million times worse background, it just really pulled at my heartstrings,” she said.

“I understand what the Ugandan kids went through (to qualify) and to not be able to finish that journey, would be pretty hard,”  Andrew said.

Hoffman came up with the idea to send the Langley squad after reading about New York-based documentary filmmaker Jay Shapiro.

For the past three years, Shapiro had worked on a project focused on baseball in Uganda, called ‘Opposite Field.’

“What inspired me was how good they were, I was never expecting to find that,” Shapiro said.

“Once I saw that, I knew it was a story I wanted to tell.

“It tells the story not just of this team but this small baseball community that we found that is amazing and inspiring and full of really passionate characters.”

“I had no idea it would end up where it did.”

After hearing Hoffman’s pitch, Shapiro was quickly on board. His documentary — scheduled to be released this spring or summer — will conclude with the All-Stars planned trip to Uganda in January.

To help fund the trip, including covering the costs for the Langley team to travel to Uganda, the not-for-profit organization Right To Play was brought on board.

In addition to the baseball, money will go towards legacy projects such as education opportunities through scholarship programs for Ugandan players, funding for travel to participate in international tournaments and/or funding to build a baseball diamond closer to where the players live.

Even before he was approached with this idea, Andrew had wanted his team to leave some sort of legacy.

“One day another team from Langley will go to the World Series and do very well; this is a legacy that can last a lot longer than the memory of what we did,” Andrew said.

“We can extend that legacy and leave a footprint, not just in Langley, but internationally.

“If we help build a complex and get equipment, that will be passed on from generation to generation and hopefully baseball in Uganda progresses as a result of that.”

The Langley players knew little about Uganda.

One of the first things Ian Burns did was search the country on the internet.

“It kind of made me sad because they don’t have shoes and stuff when they play baseball,” he said.

Andrew recalled some of the pictures he saw online, especially of what passes for baseball facilities in some parts of the country.

“That is what sold me, seeing what these kids practice on, and what they wear to practice; it is ridiculous,” he said.

“They have bare feet and cardboard bags.

Ruth Hoffman was flanked by Langley All-Stars coach Jason Andrew (left) and documentary filmmaker Jay Shapiro at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel on Nov. 1. Fundraising is underway to send the Langley Little League baseball to Uganda in January through Right To Play.

“One of the pictures, there is cow in the outfield and they are practising.”

In order to make the trip a reality, $155,000 is needed in fundraising, including $75,000 by early December. As of earlier this week, $40,00 had been raised, Hoffman said.

To donate, visit

Just Posted

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

VIDEO: Olympic medalist teaches swimming in Hope

Brent Hayden fondly remembers local swim meet from his youth

Metro gas prices hit 155.7 cents a litre and higher

Lower Mainland could see 1.60 cents by April

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Lower Mainland rabbits confirmed killed by highly-infectious virus

Feral colony on Annacis Island in Delta died from hemorrhagic disease. Pet rabbits could be at risk

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

Most Read