Written by Caleb Stayton, a member of the Ball State Baseball team
When I first heard that I was going to travel to Alaska during the summer, I was ecstatic! Alaska is known as the “Last Frontier” so being able to take a trip to a place that not many people get to go to was quite a privilege. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but I was ready to experience whatever was in store.
As I stepped off the plane, I was completely blown away by my first sights of Alaska. First of all, I thought it was pretty crazy that it was 11 o’clock at night and still perfectly daylight. That, combined with the jetlag, really makes you question your mental state. I was also blown away by the sheer size of the “small” mountains next to the airport. The locals informed us that they were nothing compared to what we would see later on in our trip.
Most people who travel to Alaska do it purely to take in the sights and the beautiful scenery of the state. I was able to do that, but I was also able to do something very few people can say they have done which is play baseball in Alaska. I’ll never forget the games that I played there. I found it quite difficult at times to focus on the games because whenever I looked around, I would see the beauty surrounding the ball field. I found it crazy that we were playing a game that is played all around the world, except the only difference was we were doing it in the shadows of 10,000 ft. mountains.
Some of the memories I found most enjoyable were fishing for Halibut one afternoon with the entire baseball team. Another great memory was taking an airplane ride to the top of Mt. McKinley. I also enjoyed some of the smaller things such as hiking the trails, seeing many glaciers and taking in all the wildlife. Other great moments were formed with my teammates playing in the storied Alaskan Baseball League. One of the greatest baseball memories I will ever have was playing in the historic Midnight Sun Game. I remember hearing about this game as a young boy. When I found out I was going to be one of the few players who ever earned the chance to play in that game, I was beyond excited. The traditions that belong to that game transcend the game of baseball and go deep into Alaskan heritage. I was honored to be apart of it.
I was very blessed for my time in Alaska. I didn’t take one second for granted. Playing baseball there is an opportunity very few get. I quickly forgot how
I played in those baseball games because there was always another one to be played.
However, I never forgot the feeling I had playing in those games, and I never will.