Thanksgiving break has been extended at Elon University this school year — classes are off for a full week instead of three days. Counting the weekends, students will have nine days off of school, which gives ample time for the school’s baseball and softball teams to travel abroad.

The baseball team will head to the Dominican Republic for the break, with Mark Cryan of the sport and event management department teaching the team on their trip.  The softball team will have a much longer flight, heading to Japan with Carol Smith, associate professor of health and human performance.

The athletic department confirmed that the teams will be taking courses abroad but did not comment on details. But according to Cryan, the one-credit class, “Globalization of Sport,” was approved by the curriculum committee earlier this month and will focus on many of the subjects that Cryan’s Winter Term class in the Dominican Republic studies. There will also be scrimmages against local teams.

“The goal is to have the team play some games when they are down there,” Cryan said. “It should be a terrific academic course, with the opportunity to visit a beautiful place, see the team play some games and academic content that is a really good fit for the students going.”

The itinerary for the trip to the Dominican Republic is not yet set, with Cryan stating that the athletic department is in charge of setting the plan. But a goal for Cryan is to have the team spend a day with a youth baseball organization.

“One of the most powerful things [on the Winter Term course] was when the students interacted with young people in the Dominican,” Cryan said. “It shows how baseball bridges a cultural divide, that these kids who could not be from more different backgrounds — U.S. college students and 10- and 11-year-olds from the Dominican Republic — could instantly connect over baseball, have fun, understand each other and have a positive experience.”

The team will meet three times before departing for the Dominican Republic on Saturday, Nov. 21. They return one week later, Nov. 28, and will meet once more on campus to wrap up the class.

Smith confirmed the softball team’s Japanese course, but declined to comment further, citing questions about travel logistics. She did mention that she lived in Japan for two years.


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