Our school, Hauptschule Herbertskaul, is located in the south-west of Cologne, close to the motor-way interchange ‘Köln-West’. The German school system is divided in three skill-levels when pupils leave primary school at the age of 10: Hauptschule (low), Realschule (medium) and Gymnasium (high).
When I became a teacher at the Hauptschule Herbertskaul in 2002, I had no idea of playing baseball at all. The pupils told me that they wanted to learn it. With support of the German ‘Base- and softball-association’ we made our first experiences in regular sports lessons. We saw a chance to integrate boys and girls in one kind of sports because they don’t have any experiences and prejudices. So we made special sports offer in the following year where the pupils only play baseball. There was a big run to our new founded baseball working-group and the children had much fun to play it. As expected, there were no problems between girls and boys.
We noticed that the American professional league Major League Baseball (MLB) had a special program in Germany to hire new players for German baseball clubs. In the so called PlayBall!-league were only children playing between 10 and 13 years who are not playing in a club. In 2004 we joined this Playball!-league and played for six weeks on the field of the baseball club Cologne Cardinals. They were dressed in original MLB-Team-shirts and got lessons from professional club-trainers.
You must know that in Germany the children of low-level-educated parents mostly don’t have access to sports which is played in a club. One reason is that often they don’t have money to pay the equipment, for the yearly fee or pay the transport to travel by bus to the club. So we tried to build a bridge between school- and club-sports.
The best teams of the Playball!-league meet in summer in Cologne to play the Playball!-World-series, where the best team of Germany is played out. In a mixed team of Hauptschule Herbertskaul, a ‘Realschule’ and a Gymnasium of Cologne we won the tournament in the shirts of the MLB-Club Cleveland Indians.
After this first fantastic success there were many children trying to play baseball in our baseball team. In 2005 we reached the 3rd rank at the end of the World-series and in 2006 we won the title again.
Since 2004 we are each year invited by the mayor of the city of Frechen to get the ‘Big Sports Medal’ which is dedicated to very successful sports-teams. We got the idea to create our own shirts for our team. At the beginning I tried to make my own design. During the search for a suitable font I found ‘Bello’ by Underware in the internet. While designing the logotype, I experienced technical problems. After some email correspondence with Underware about this, they asked what for the Bello typeface is needed. After explaining the whole story, Underware ended up giving us a helping hand with the Firefox-logotype design.
During three years the children made the experience that they are one of the best school-baseball teams playing in Germany. This is very important for them because in the ‘normal’ school lessons they often come to very bad results, they have to visit one class for two years or they have problems in discipline. The more success they make with sports, the more their self-assurance is powered up.
The winners in the Playball-Bundesfinale since 2004:
2004, 1. Platz:
Robert Gomoluch, Christian Ferber, Mirco Bürgel, Lenara Beytulaeva
2005, 3. Platz:
Mirco Bürgel, Lenara Beytulaeva, Jasmin Kader, Ebru Sicakyüz, Aileen Eichner, Yannik De Luca, Tayfun Kasmis, Denis Majorov
2006, 1. Platz
Mirco Bürgel, Niklas Wöhrl, Jasmin Kader, Jessica Kader, Ebru Sicakyüz, Emre Sener, Philip Hartmann