Baseball is America's pastime, but the fact of the matter is it's much more than that. It creates memories that stay with us for the rest of our lives. It teaches us to grow and become everything we wish we could be.
There are those fans that would go to the ends of the earth for a chance to learn baseball from some of its greatest legends.
For those looking for something a little closer, Myrtle Beach offers the Ripken Experience.
The Ripken Experience is a training ground for baseball youth who want to expand their knowledge of the sport in a professional setting. It began in June 2006 and has enjoyed increased success each year. Fields are designed after historic parks to give the camp a major league feel. This year's Spring Break Camp runs from April 21-23 and admits children from ages 11-12.
One of the things that separates the Ripken Experience from other baseball camps around the country is the active participation of former major league players, like Reggie Sanders.
"We have had both Cal Ripken Jr. and his brother, former major league player Bill Ripken, involved in our camps in the past," said Bobby Holland, 34, the general manager of the Ripken Experience. "This is the second year we have hosted the camp with Reggie's help."
Reggie Sanders, born in Florence, is a three-time World Series champion, most recently with the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, a fact that Holland and the kids that attend the camps both love and respect.
"He brought his three World Series rings last year to show all the kids on the last day of camp and they, including myself, were wowed with that," said Holland. "He was just outstanding with the kids last year and is generally just an A-plus person in terms of his character."
Sanders clearly is pleased with what the Ripken Experience stands for, both from a professional and personal standpoint.
"It's really professionalized, so it's almost like going to a major league stadium," said Sanders. "We give you college instruction and we also give you life skills, too."
As a parent himself, Holland appreciates the lessons kids can learn at the Ripken Experience.
"I have really learned to take what I have been taught working with Ripken Baseball and try to relay it not only to the kids that come to our camps and tournaments, but also my kids' teams," said Holland. "I think it's important as parents to try and give kids an opportunity to try different things/sports so that they can find out what it's like while they are young while incorporating strong life lessons."
One unique feature of the Ripken Experience is that players will learn a little about all positions, not just the ones they play now. Sanders considers this an invaluable tool.
"I think it helps a lot. Also, playing other sports too," said Sanders. "There's so many different components that each sport gives that makes it so much better for other sports. Playing different positions with different angles and different situations, I think all those things come into play."
Holland and Sanders both seemed to agree that in the end, while this camp is a phenomenal way for kids to learn more about the sport and how to play it, one of the ultimate goals is to develop the kids as people.
"We're really just saying that developing yourself as a good human being is what it's really all about and playing team sports is one of those things that really imitates that," said Sanders.