'NOT ALL THE PARENTS ARE FINANCIALLY READY'
For someone whose home doesn’t have electricity, Rodriguez has a great attitude about it.
“We could be worse,” she said, speaking on the phone from Puerto Rico. “But 30 [percent] or 40 percent of the people have [gas] generators. The rest of the day, at least kids are not stuck on Playstations. I see it as a great experience for Puerto Rico and for our generation.
“Now, all the kids have learned to wash clothes with their hands; they have to help out because the parents have to work.”
That is, if the parents can go back to work. Many workplaces still are without power.
Rodriguez’s oldest son, Alexis Bruno, 18, plays baseball at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. Guillermo Bruno, 17, and Graciela Bruno, 14, still are at home in Puerto Rico.
After the hurricane, glass and debris from the fallen lights littered the ballpark near their house. Rodriguez said they were lucky because it was one of the first parks cleaned up after the storm.
Guillermo and Graciela were back on the diamond by mid-October. Practices with their team, ESCA Baseball School, resumed. Still, many of their teammates can’t make it to practices because their families lost their cars in the floods.
Although they were lucky to get back on the field for practice, games with other teams didn’t resume for some two months. The program lost out one of its crucial fundraising aspects – selling food and raffle tickets at the concession stand during games.
“If we want to go to the States, we have to buy [plane] tickets,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the hardest part of the trip. We have to plan in advance because not all the parents are financially ready for a trip like that.”
The kids already are looking forward to the trip. Rodriguez and her kids have been to the MCYSA tournament five times, most recently in 2016.
ESCA, formerly known as the Piratas of Puerto Rico, still is trying to figure out whether it can make enough money for the trip next summer.
“I told them we have to try to get all the money we can,” Rodriguez said. “We can’t be waiting for someone to help us because we’re not sure we will get any help. We’re trying to get a plan so we can raise most of the money.”
Even so, the MCYSA is hoping the McHenry County community will pitch in.
“We want to show the Puerto Rican teams how important they are to us and to this community,” Streit said.