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Arcadia Softball Program Helps Kosovo Team Suit Up

Uniforms donated by the Arcadia Girls' Softball Association ended up in the hands of a team in Kosovo, a country recently introduced to the sport.

When the Arcadia Girls' Softball Association decided to suit its teams up with new uniforms and asked coaches to dispose of the old ones, no one could have known some of those uniforms would end up a world away.

Wine of the Month Club owner Paul Kalemkiarian, a long-time coach and AGSA team sponsor, packed up two dozen sets of uniforms and donated them to the International Softball Federation in Plant City, Fla. 

Several months later, Kalemkiarian received two photos of a softball team in Kosovo proudly sporting the donated uniforms.

As part of the ISF's mission to spread the sport across the globe, the organization had sent a starter kit — which included the uniforms, along with basic softball equipment — to a newly-formed league in the formerly war-torn nation.

While you can't play softball without a ball or a bat, uniforms go a long way in making any team a true unit.

"For these kids to have something that unifies them is really kind of amazing," Kalemkiarian said, adding "The best day for ball players is the day they get their uniforms."

ISF spokesperson Bruce Wawrzyniak said his organization sends the kits to various countries around the world: some countries receive one or two kits, while others receive up to 20.

"They really have nothing to start with," Wawrzyniak said.

The ISF will even send coaches overseas to teach the sport. 

Kalemkiarian said he believes in organizations such as the ISF because the benefits of softball extend far beyond physical fitness, and the sport changes the lives of those who play it.

"It brings huge discipline that takes you to all parts of your life," he said. The sport "is going to teach (the kids in Kosovo) skills they otherwise never would have had."

Correction: A previous version of this story stated the ISF was located in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization is located in Plant City, Fla.

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