Assaf Lowengart, 19, is a sportsman for baseball in the IDF and a member of the Israel Baseball Senior National Team. In May, he traveled to Prague to play in the Tempo Titans baseball club, thanks to joint cooperation between Israel and Czech baseball. He tells us about his experiences.
What is the background to your trip to Czech Republic?
I heard about the opportunity from Tal (Erel) who had traveled to Czech Republic last year to play at the Tempo Titans baseball club in Prague for two months. I asked him about his experience and he highly recommended spending time there. So I spoke to Richard Kania, a Tempo coach and the coach of the Israel Senior National Team, and we planned for me to join the club for the month of May.
What are you doing in Czech Republic?
I joined the Tempo Titans, a team that plays in the Czech Extraleague (the top league in Czech, comprised of 10 teams spread throughout the country. Each team plays the other five times and the top four teams meet in the playoffs and competes for the championship. The bottom four play each other and the lowest placed team drops a league.) In addition, I also play in two other Tempo teams. The Extraleague games take place on the weekends, and the other two teams play during the week. In addition, I have three practices per week. I stay in a room for the players they bring from abroad that's located at the field. There is another American player also staying there, which enables me to practice every day.
What is the advantage of you playing in Prague?
I am practicing on a very high level. I play in league games on a high level as well. I've seen players who were professional in the past, and I am playing against them, batting against them, and this improves my game every day.
How have you been received in Prague?
They're received me very well. The players are really nice. They immediately got me up to speed about the team and explained the routines to me. They also invite me to come and practice with them beyond the regular practice hours for the teams.
What are your plans for after you return home to Israel?
I plan on getting ready for the Senior National Team tournament - the European Championship B Pool taking place in Belgrade, Serbia in July. In addition, I am coaching the Under 12 Israel National Team that will be traveling to Italy in the summer, and we start our training camp soon.
How does this trip fit in with your army service?
As a IDF sportsman, I get 90 "special" days per year, which means that I am able to spend 90 days playing baseball. These days can be spent in Israel at training camps or I can fly abroad to tournaments with nationals teams or to train.
Where do you see yourself in five year's time?
In five year I hope to be finishing my college studies in the US and making it into the MLB draft.