While many Ottawa residents may likely suggest that playing childhood sports took them far in life, they’d likely be speaking far more figuratively than Shepherd Middle School seventh-grader Henry Farabaugh. Henry recently traveled to Valencia, France, to pitch and play shortstop for the Great Britain National Travel Baseball Team as they competed in the Under-Twelve (U12) European Championship.
The International Pastime
“The reason I’m allowed to play on the Great Britain National Team is that my mother is from England, so I have the United Kingdom passport needed in order to play for the team,’ shares Henry, adding, “My grandma lives in England, in the small town of Fairbourne, just fifteen minutes from Barmouth.
While Henry’s mother was originally from England, his dad grew up in Pittsburg. He traveled the world as a broadcaster, meeting Henry’s mother while in Europe for work. Henry’s parents lived in New Jersey before moving to Ottawa, where Henry’s father briefly lived as a child. As a middle child, Henry says his older brother, who is fifteen, was born in New Jersey, whereas Henry and his younger brother were both born in Ottawa.
Henry visits England often, spending time with his mother’s side of the family. His grandmother, multiple aunts, and cousins consider the Fairbourne area home. Henry says that spending time in England comes with adjustments, especially when riding in an automobile, as the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle. He laughs and adds that sometimes the slang can be tricky, sharing that when he wants French Fries, he must order chips, whereas when he wants potato chips, he asks for crisps.
Henry says that even though baseball isn’t as popular in Europe as in the United States, the talent of the teams he played against was impressive. The Great Britain team finished the tournament without a win, going 0-5 and losing to teams from Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Austria, and France. While Henry may continue playing for the Great Britain National Team, he shares that he’d be required to move from the Under 12 to the Under 15 league. He isn’t sure whether to continue playing for Great Britain or more fully channel into his American sports.
When it comes to baseball, Henry shares that he also plays for the Top Tier travel baseball team and Shepherd Middle School’s team. Despite his dedication to baseball, he considers basketball his favorite sport and hopes to compete in the NBA after college. When considering college, he’s undecided as to what he’ll major in but wants to attend a school with a legacy basketball program, such as Duke or Michigan.
A student-athlete, Henry also plays soccer and swims competitively. He says that he used to run cross country but decided to stop. He also adds that he’s “had straight A’s every year that I’ve been measured with grades.” He adds that he received the Presidential Academic Award for making straight A’s in fifth and sixth grades.
Whether Henry continues to play for Great Britain’s National Team or channels his energy into making the basketball squad at Michigan, Henry’s path to mastery is simple but not easy. “Just do your best, do your chores, and listen to your parents,” shares Henry with a smile, playfully confessing that he’s only sometimes successful.