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Another fun Khon Kaen visit completed. STEEEERIKE!

By C. Brandon Chapman

There were certainly a lot of highlights to this year’s visit from our Thai friends.

Khon Kaen University is aptly named, as it is located in Khon Kaen. Our dean Mike Trevisan posted about his trip to Khon Kaen a few months ago.

This partnership we have is one that focuses on educational administration and curriculum. We’re thrilled that these administrators want to visit the United States every year. As Mike wrote, it’s no easy task to get to Khon Kaen. The inverse is also true, and when our guests leave, they are always exhausted… but with a smile.

Our guests got to take tours of the Pullman schools, starting with the elementary schools, then moving to Lincoln Middle School, before finishing up at the high school.

They all seemed to really enjoy the school tours from the beginning.

Except Dr. Teerachai Nethanomsak. He didn’t seem to be enjoying it at all.

You see, Dr. Teerachai was slated to throw out the first pitch of the Cougs baseball game that night and he had never thrown a baseball in his entire life. He was beyond nervous. We kept telling him we’d have some sort of training session. He kept looking at the agenda and wondering how we were going to fit it in. Truth be told, so did we. But we didn’t want to say it out loud and scare the guy even more.

And then, as the tour was winding down at Lincoln Middle School, the group stepped into the gym, and kids were throwing tennis balls around and sport management professor Chris Lebens had a great idea: why not have a student here quickly teach him how to throw!

Cue the cameras!

How about principal Cameron Grow’s emphatic strikeout call to end it!!!!!!!!!!

At game time, Dr. Teerachai, was joined by freshman Johnny Sage (sure to be the greatest Coug ballplayer since John Olerud). Notice how our friend has a nice four-seam grip on the ball? He’s learning already!

Then, it was time for the actual throw.

Not bad, not bad. The only thing missing was the ebullient third strike call from Mr. Grow.

And then our Thai friends froze by the fourth inning and we all left.

You see, they’re used to much hotter weather in April. We gave them a cold, windy day. As soon as we left, it started raining. Hard. So, we probably made the right decision.

It was certainly a valuable learning experience for our guests. It always is. And we are able to learn a thing or two, as well. The relationship grows stronger with each passing year. But in terms of this year, it’s a Cougs baseball game first pitch – and the angst leading up to it – that I’ll always remember.

Washington State University