Cuban Softball Team Wants to Fly Old Glory
Sometimes, when you read a story like this one, you're reminded why people to people travel to Cuba is so rewarding, important and worth fighting for:
The first time Gary Buxton went to Havana, Cuba, to play softball two years ago, he brought New York Yankees hats.
This time, he's bringing Old Glory.
Buxton, 60, of Holliston is returning to Cuba next month for the eighth time to play softball, traveling with two teams from the Eastern Massachusetts Senior Softball association and a third from Tampa.
The group first traveled to Cuba in 2009 on a well-publicized trip that marked the first time an amateur American sports team entered the communist country. Buxton has returned several times since to play for and against Cuban softball teams.
"We were told to bring an American flag, so it's a good bet probably that not only will they be playing the American anthem but they'll be flying the American flag, and that's never really been done," Buxton said. "Nobody does anything in Cuba without the government saying it's OK."
It's the sign of a changing climate in Cuba, Buxton said. When the Cubans he meets find out he's an American softball player, he is greeted warmly, often with hugs and kisses. His presence in the country, which has been closed for decades, represents something special to the Cubans.