Baseballer goes from Baulkham Hills to around the world

RICHARD Olson joined the navy to see the world, and what did he see? He saw the sea . . .

Apologies for the musical plagiarism, and Olson didn't do that.

But he's indeed seen the world.

He's gone from Baulkham Hills and Crestwood High School to the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan and most parts in between.

"I've been trying to see as much of the world as possible — it's doing something I love and getting paid for it," he said.

Now he's home and as he turns 25 this week he can say "this is the biggest birthday present I could get".

"It's the biggest highlight, the best. It's a huge honour."

Olson's passport for travelling the world has been his baseball prowess.

The highlight and the birthday present was being chosen for the Southern Thunder, the Australian team that will play the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 20 and 21.

"This is the biggest opportunity I've been given. It'll be an eye-opener."

Olson's eye-opening travels have included stints at Clarendon Junior College in Texas, the University of New Mexico and the Stuttgart Reds in the German Bundesliga. They've been combined with trips home to play for the Sydney Blue Sox and Adelaide Bite rosters.

Olson wasn't the travelling trailblazer, however. His twin brother Michael was. At 18, Richard went to the Australian academy, Michael went to Israel for a stint with the Petach Tikva Pioneers.

Where did this precocity come from? Parental baseball background? Olson said no.

"Mum and dad saw an ad for Try T-ball when we were four," he said.

They went and were hooked, but Michael is happy to be a carpenter and play with Winston Hills.

There are two other basketballing brothers. Andrew, 22, also plays for Winston Hills and Matthew, 19, is at college in El Paso.

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