There are a lot of different ways teenagers can find to spend their summer.
Waxahachie junior Colton Cain, however, may have had one of the most unique as he traveled to Venezuela with the Youth National Team, where the USA won the gold medal.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” he said. “To go to another country and represent the United States was something I’ll never forget.”
Cain was selected to the team after being one of 36 15-and16-year olds from around the country invited to tryout for the team. Of the 36 invited to tryout, 18 were selected to the team.
This was the second time Cain was invited to tryout, but the first time he was able to travel with the team.
“It felt good to actually make the team this time,” he said. “They put us in a room and called out the names of those who didn’t make it.
“We were supposed to keep it down and be respectful, and when they were in another room we were able to let out.”
After the teams were announced, Cain and his new teammates practiced and played exhibition games for four days.
They played 18U teams from around North Carolina.
“The teams we played were pretty good, they probably had six to seven Division I guys on each team,” Cain said.
After the exhibition games, the team traveled to Venezuela for the World Youth Championship. It was Cain’s first venture outside of the United States.
“All we ate was chicken and rice,” he said. “It was neat seeing their culture and what they do, but it makes you feel blessed to live in America.”
Cain said playing baseball in Venezuela was an experience within itself.
The coaches warned the players that the other teams would do anything to beat the United States.
“Our motto was Expect the Unexpected,” Cain said. “In the past they’ve turned the sprinklers on and they sort of thing. They would do anything in order to beat us, but we didn’t encounter anything like that.”
Cain’s best memories from the trip include the fans in Venezuela.
“They were crazy, I’ve never seen fans like that before,” he said. “They would bang on the fence and after the game we had to walk through a tunnel where they would grab anything they could from you. They loved baseballs.”
Cain, who has decided not to play football this year in order to concentrate on baseball, said playing at the Youth World Championship is something that will help once his high school season rolls around next spring.
“Playing against players like that makes you a lot better,” he said. “Without football, there is a lot of stress gone and this is the first time I’ve been able to play fall ball in a while. That will help a lot too.”