The “Tigers” Team. Henry is standing on the left in the grey jersey.
Henry about to deliver a strike to the batter.
When you think of the West African country Nigeria, baseball isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind, let alone an all-star baseball pitcher with an 85-87 mph fastball.
Henry Ekpoto, the Nigerian-native with multiple national baseball awards, is a driver for Jonathan Lord, Transocean Marine Manager in the Gulf of Guinea (GGA) Division; and he also works with some of the supporting marine personnel assigned to Lagos. The history behind Henry’s baseball hobby and success was sparked by the power behind Henry’s pitches. Matt Sobey, Master, Sedco 706, played catch with Henry on one of his rotations off the rig, and assured Henry, “wasn’t holding back any power.”
When co-workers in Lagos learned more about Henry and his leadership on a local Lagos baseball team, they donated baseball equipment. Between Bill Carr, Barge Master III, SWAT Maintenance; Jonathan and Matt, all of Henry’s teammates had batting helmets, bats, balls, clothing and training aids. Their donations had an impact on the players and their families; so much that the next time Jonathan went to a Christmas All-Star game at Lagos University, he was greeted with applause and cheers from the team and audience. The Secretary of the Lagos State Baseball Association, Mr. Robert Onwukwe, was also in attendance when Jonathan received the applause.
“It’s neat to be able to watch a team you can contribute to. We aren’t at every game to cheer them on, but we know our donations contribute to their morale and help give them what they need to win,” Jonathan said.
Jonathan went back to an operations meeting at the Lagos Transocean office the following week, where he shared the news about how much their generosity meant to the team. By the end of his story, someone in the office responded, “They play baseball in Nigeria?” And as anyone who has spent time working in Nigeria will recognize, “I learn something new about Nigeria every day.”
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