The ComebackSports in Puerto Rico

Sports is one lens for looking at the island of Puerto Rico in a post Hurricane Maria era.

Athletes and athletic programs, some already battered by economic and social forces, have found ways to survive and even flourish in the nearly two years since Maria landed in the center of the island.

Reporter Brandon Pelter traveled to Yabucoa, Puerto Rico to see its road to recovery through baseball.
EunHa Walker is the only girl on her football team, but that doesn't stop her from putting on the pads with the boys.

Alysbeth Felix is a heptathlete from Puerto Rico who competed in the Rio Olympics and is training at home for the Tokyo Games in 2020.

The Ring Leader

Iván Calderón is a former professional boxer from Puerto Rico who lives out his passion for the sport by running a municipal boxing gym in Guaynabo.

Photographs by Eric Firestine

Now 44 years old, Calderón won belts in two weight classes during a career that saw him go 35-3-1 and earn the title of “super champion” from the World Boxing Organization. These days, Calderón coaches and mentors athletes at the Amelia Municipal Boxing Gym, where he trains boxers ranging from those looking for exercise to those pursuing a career in the sport.

Puerto Rican baseball star and Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente passed away nearly 50 years ago in a tragic airplane accident while trying to bring earthquake supplies to Nicaragua. His legacy lives on in Puerto Rico.
The 2019 Puerto Rico Open gave the recovery of the sport on the island after Hurricane Maria a fitting culmination. Maria damaged and forced the closure of all of Puerto Rico's golf courses, cutting off a significant source of tourism revenue. But the native golfers of Puerto Rico also suffered. Jack Hirsh caught up with three of the island's best golfers to learn what they went through and what they're doing now to improve the future of Puerto Rican golf.

~ 5.03.2019

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