The Digital Journalism Blog


Kottaras Handles the Distance by Andres Rodriguez

Posted in Uncategorized by com360bu on May 10, 2011

 

Life on the Road Second Nature to Kottaras
For Bradley student James Kottaras life away from home is nothing new to him. The game of baseball has taken Kottaras to various locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. Starting at the age of fifteen he has participated in baseball tournaments against teams all over the world and learned to cope with the distance from his family. With his parents living in Toronto, Ontario, Kottaras’ birthplace, and a brother playing professional baseball family time is limited. The google map provided displays the locations Kottaras has been along with his family locations. A video interview exclusive with Kottaras captures his personal feelings on baseball, traveling, and the relationship with his family.

maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=212620012505003895482.0004a1efbd5fc81a62187&z=3

Andres Rodriguez

5/10/11

COM 360

Main Story

Life on the Road Second Nature to Kottaras

The game of baseball has been deemed “America’s National Past-Time,” and in Canada hockey is king amongst the sports world. Yet, for Canadian James Kottaras it was baseball that captured his heart. From the age of fifteen Kottaras has competed in tournaments all over the world ranging from various locations in Canada, the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.

Due to the traveling Kottaras has been forced to deal with long periods of time away from home. Adjusting to constantly being away on the road was at first tough for Kottaras. “It was real different at first,” Kottaras said. “Going from hotel to hotel, and living out of a suitcase is nothing typical for a fifteen year old.” Luckily for Kottaras he had someone very close to him to help him adjust along the way.

Kottaras’ older brother, George, is a professional baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers. The two, though they rarely see on another, are very close and approached their baseball careers the exact same way. Both traveled all over to various locations for baseball year round and even attended Connors State College in Warner, Oklahoma for two years. Connors State is roughly 2,000 miles from Kottaras’ home in Toronto. “George had gone through the same experiences I did when he was younger,” Kottaras said. “He coached me on how to deal with being away, and he was there for me to talk to during tough times.”

Several of these tough times for Kottaras included missing out on the family gatherings. Kottaras is from Greek decent, and both his parents migrated from Greece to Canada before him and his brother were born. According to Kottaras the Greek culture is one in which the focus on a strong family relationship is important. Whether it is a holiday, birthday, or special occasion the whole Kottaras family is together. “The best part about our family parties is the food, no doubt,” Kottaras said. “Everyone brings something, and it’s all Greek food, smiles all around, and it’s something that you miss being away most of the time.”

Though he is far from home, Kottaras displays his Greek ethnicity proudly. When he speaks with his family back home over the phone, the conversation is completely in Greek. As you enter Kottaras’ apartment a giant Greek flag draped on the wall, is there to greet you immediately. “Growing up I was always told, ‘Your Greek James, which means you are strong willed and you can do anything. Make sure you let everyone knows it.’ ”

He uses the values instilled in him while growing up, to help him overcome the absence of his family. Kottaras continues to succeed on the baseball field as the starting catcher now at Bradley University. As he has grown up Kottaras is able to handle the distance between him and his family stating: “I’m here to get my education and play ball. This is a decision I made knowing I’d be far, so I use that to motivate me to make my family proud.”

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