Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

11 de Abril del 2000

OUTSIDE THE FOUL LINES. By Rafael Contreras Bueno, Cuba Free Press.

Pinar del Río, April 11.- We won’t give his name but he likes to go the baseball stadium. He still finds the shouts and applause of the people in the stands incomparable. When he was on the provincial baseball team, he liked to play with the stadium filled. From the first time he played, every fan liked him and his teammates said he was the best all-around baseball player in the Cuban amateur league.

He soon moved to the national team and continued to be the best. Fans and players went so far as to compare him to Roberto Clemente. He was the symbol of his people in the province. On the street fans stopped him to greet him and tourists had their pictures taken with him.

But then things started to turn out bad for him when he faced a divorce. He visited the provincial authorities and spoke to them of his need for a house. He had separated from his wife and they couldn't throw him out on the street. He had a son.

The officials told him his case was in process. But time passed and he realized they didn't pay any attention to him. He knew that when a government functionary left his wife a house appeared at once, as if by magic. Many such cases like his had occurred, he was certain. But now, they did not want to resolve his problem.

Then he realized he was nothing more than a baseball player. He felt the doors closing on him. He turned to drinking. People noticed he wasn't the same. He couldn't respond uniformly on the field. The same people who used to applaud him now criticized him. At every game they made fun of his errors.

One day he decided to retire. With this decision he wiped out part of his life. Baseball was his reason for existing. He killed himself while living.

To make a long story short, the government bureaucrats never found him a place to live. He still likes the baseball stadium. There are two reasons: The first is his love for the sport. The second is that when the game ends, he sleeps there every night in the stands.

Rafael Contreras Bueno, Cuba Free Press.

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