Kristoffer Ask and his wife Trine were just out driving around on Monday afternoon when they came across the signs for the Cal Ripken State Tournament and asked about American baseball.
Coming from Norway, the two wanted to get a first-hand look at the American pastime and took in championship day at the tournament held at Wallace Park in Paola.
Kristoffer and Trine are living at the Netherfeld Natural Farm in Fontana with Scott Shappel through an international program called WWOOF.
People from all around the world can go online and see a farm anywhere in the world and volunteer to work there in exchange for free room and board.
Visits can be as short as a week or as long as a complete season, three to four months.
Assisting Kristoffer and Trine with the fine points of the game was Jody Garrison of the Paola Cal Ripken League.
“It is a little bit confusing,” Kristoffer said of American baseball. “But, we had a great guide.”
Kristoffer said they were quite impressed with how good the young boys were.
“They really seemed to know what they were doing,” Kristoffer said. “We thought they were very talented.”
It looked more like a game than the taste of baseball they had over the weekend.
“We were playing kickball the other day,” Kristoffer said. “That was our introduction to baseball.”
The Netherfeld Fram has chickens and a nice vegetable garden the couple are assisting with during their visit.
Trine’s sister, Pauline Strend, visited a farm in Montana and had nothing but great things to say about the experience.
“She loved it so much, she stayed for a full season, spending three months there,” Trine said. “She told us about it and that’s why we decided to try it.”
In exchange for their room and board, Kristoffer and Trine do chores around the farm, assisting with the chickens and the garden.
“We also got a farmer’s tan,” Trine said. “So we can be proper red necks.”
Kristoffer and Trine are from a town near Seljord, Norway.
They are used to sunshine, but not as much as they have experienced in Kansas.
“We are not used to two days in a row of sunshine,” Kristoffer said. “It is comfortable today, but we appreciate the air conditioning at Price Chopper.”