When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last year and broke a 71-year-old loosing streak Byford resident Liam Olsesen was ecstatic.
The 16-year-old baseball enthusiast was even more overjoyed when he learned he had been chosen by Swan Hill Aces Charter Committee to go to Chicago, home of the Cubs, in July for three weeks as part of a baseball development program aimed at enhancing skills and creating opportunities for the future.
He was selected based on skill and good character.
Liam said he first started playing teaball before he transitioned to baseball, a sport he has been playing for more than three years now.
He said he was also a black shirt, which made him a qualified umpire.
“I love playing the most because I love playing the game and getting out there each weekend just really excites me,” he said.
“I love getting onto the field and fielding the ball and hitting and running the base.
“Umpiring is also really fun because I learn the rules and how to enforce them and I enjoy umpiring because it exposes me to more baseball a week and as I have heard from one of my mentors being the umpire is the best seat in the game.
“You see everything and it all plays out in front of you.”
Liam said in preparation for his trip he was fundraising and hoped to raise $6000.
His mother Karen Olsesen said sponsorship and funding was slow as it was not a state or national team going to America.
“Basically we have to find the money ourselves,” she said.
“It has been a bit difficult with Bo (my husband) not having a job.”
Despite the challenge of raising the funds Mrs Olsesen said she was excited for her son.
“My husband and I are very proud of him,” she said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity which not many people are given especially for someone so young.
“It is great that he will get a taste for life outside of Byford and see what life can be like.
“It is a big chance for him.”
To help Liam get to America you can visit his gofundme page at gofundme.com/swan-hill-aces-baseball-chicago2017.