A coed softball team of all-Muslim gamers is displaying the Santa Clarita Valley what it means to mix faith, fasting and sports during Ramadan.

Each 12 months for the month of Ramadan, the holiest month within the Islamic calendar, Muslims abstain from consuming or ingesting something — together with water — from dawn till sundown every day.

The Batter Halves, a team comprised of 5 Muslim {couples}, has been doing simply that — even on Sundays, after they have night softball video games.

Typically referred to as a month of fasting, prayer, giving and neighborhood, Ramadan can be a month of sacrifice for these Muslim athletes.

Members of The Batter Halves softball team pray collectively earlier than their sport at Central Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Bobby Block/The Signal
Members of The Batter Halves softball team pray collectively earlier than their sport at Central Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Bobby Block/The Signal

“You’re not supposed to change your daily activities, so for us, if (softball season) happens to land in the month of Ramadan, we don’t cancel, we don’t forfeit, we just say, ‘We’re just going to keep on going,” stated Arif Harsolia, the team’s captain.

While there are exceptions to the fasting for individuals who are sick, aged, pregnant or touring, for instance, most proceed on, discovering the stability between fasting and their every day actions, reminiscent of sports, uplifting and virtually higher, in some methods.

“It’s weird because you would think you’d be a lot more tired … but it’s a spiritual time, so you just gain this extra energy,” Arif stated. “For some reason, I think I play better when I’m fasting.”

“If anything, I feel lighter on my feet,” added Saif Islam, one of many team’s quickest gamers.

Video courtesy of Aamir Kazi

At sundown, Muslim household and associates sometimes collect for iftar, or the breaking of the quick, and The Batter Halves do the identical after their video games at Central Park, usually inviting the opposing team to affix them as nicely.

“The city has been really accommodating in giving us later games so we can (break our fast) right after the games,” Mona Harsolia added.

The complete factor has been a studying expertise for the team, as many discovered to play softball concurrently they discovered to stability the game with fasting.

“Actually, 90% of our team never played before — ever,” Arif stated. “They didn’t even know how to hold a bat, never held a glove … didn’t know the rules.”

Aamir Kazi, a member of The Batter Halves softball team, competes in a sport at Central Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Bobby Block/The Signal

As their softball abilities have grown, the team’s children have grown up collectively at Central Park, but it surely’s the neighborhood’s progress that the team has actually cherished.

Through the 9 years the team’s now been enjoying, the SCV softball neighborhood has gotten to know them and their routine, as they collect to hope collectively both earlier than or after the sport.

This, together with their Ramadan practices, has helped to ease the stereotypes and stigmas of their faith, Mona stated.

“It’s been a really, really great experience to see how people have been comfortable getting to know us,” Mona stated. “A lot of people I don’t think have really known many Muslim people, so when they see us out there playing an American sport and doing all these activities with them, and they find out we’re Muslim, they’ve been so kind and extremely accommodating. … Santa Clarita is such an open-minded, great community, so we’re really lucky.”

Members of The Batter Halves softball team break their Ramadan quick at sundown after their sport at Central Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Team members embody: Arif and Mona Harsolia, Asma and Saif Islam, Umar and Kanwal Rana, Aamir and Komal Kazi, and Irfan and Rida Harsolia. Bobby Block/The Signal
Asma Islam and Rida Harsolia, members of The Batter Halves softball team, break their Ramadan quick at sundown after their sport at Central Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Bobby Block/The Signal

Through Ramadan, the concentrate on fasting and prayer has additionally allowed the team to mirror on each their alternatives and obligations as athletes and SCV neighborhood members, Arif stated.

“Ramadan is a peaceful time that brings a deep sense of gratitude,” Arif added. “You would be shocked at how thankful we are every night after we get our first sip of water.”

Ramadan is all about giving and neighborhood, which is why team members have appreciated the chance to teach the SCV softball neighborhood about their faith and its practices.

Also in celebration of Ramadan and as a result of the pandemic halted many native charity efforts, the Harsolias’ oldest daughter, Inaya, determined to place collectively a toy drive for inner-city Muslim youth, in addition to hygiene kits for teenagers, to allow them to even have items sometimes given at Eid al-Fitr, the tip of Ramadan.

Eid toy drive donations are set to learn Islah LA and are being collected by Friday. Donations could be dropped off at Allstate, positioned at 24502 Lyons Ave., Unit 3, in Newhall.

Irfan Harsolia, a member of The Batter Halves softball team, practices at Central Park earlier than their sport on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Bobby Block/The Signal
Members of The Batter Halves softball team break their Ramadan quick at sundown after their sport at Central Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Team members embody: Arif and Mona Harsolia, Asma and Saif Islam, Umar and Kanwal Rana, Aamir and Komal Kazi, and Irfan and Rida Harsolia. Bobby Block/The Signal
Inaya Harsolia practices together with her mother and father and different members of The Batter Halves softball team at Central Park earlier than their sport on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Bobby Block/The Signal



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