Back in US, Mroueh brothers return to baseball at Griffith. One difference in Dubai: ‘It didn’t rain.’

Back in US, Mroueh brothers return to baseball at Griffith. One difference in Dubai: ‘It didn’t rain.’

As a wintry mix fell outside, Griffith sophomore Mahdi Mroueh thought about the weather in Dubai.

He and his family moved to Griffith from the United Arab Emirates city last summer.

“It didn’t rain back there,” Mahdi Mroueh said.

But games postponed due to rain are just a fraction of the new reality for Mahdi Mroueh, his twin brother, Milad, and their older brother, Mazen, a junior, during their first high school baseball season.

The Mroueh brothers are all eyeing the same position, catcher, following in the footsteps of their father, Mohamed Mroueh, who was a catcher at Butler in the 1990s. Amir Wright, Griffith’s first-year coach, said there’s no conflict among the brothers as they compete for the same position.

“They’re all just trying to get better,” Wright said. “They get along really well, and they’ve taken huge strides since they’ve come here.”

Mazen and Mahdi Mroueh are more experienced as catchers. Milad Mroueh decided to give the position a shot while looking to his brothers for guidance.

“They’ve been helping me,” Milad Mroueh said. “When I’m trying to learn something, they’re the ones helping me get better at it, telling me what I’m doing right or what I’m doing wrong.”

It’s been a sports-heavy first school year for the Mroueh brothers, who arrived in Griffith in July. Milad and Mahdi Mroueh played soccer in the fall. During the winter, Milad and Mazen Mroueh swam while Mahdi Mroueh wrestled.

All three were multisport athletes in Dubai after moving there in 2015. They agreed the atmosphere around sports is much different in the U.S.

“People are just more competitive with sports here,” Mazen Mroueh said. “Every season, everyone focuses on a sport to watch or play.”

Baseball brings the Mroueh brothers together, and conversations about the sport often lead back to their father, who is still listed as a member of the board of directors on the Dubai Little League’s website.

“It really all went through our dad,” Milad Mroueh said. “He’s the one who introduced us to everything. He always wanted us to push ourselves to our limits and have our experiences with everything.”

Soccer and cricket are more popular sports in Dubai, but the Mroueh brothers said there is a solid baseball presence there as well, which they attributed to the Americans and Canadians who brought the sport with them.

“It’s so multicultural back there,” Mahdi Mroueh said. “So we had a decent amount of people playing. We had games every single weekend and practiced twice a week.”

That experience was enough to convince Wright that they had the skills to play for Griffith.

“You could just tell that they’d played before,” Wright said.

The Mroueh brothers just didn’t play as much in Dubai, where they usually had one game per week. Griffith has 17 games on its April schedule.

Mahdi Mroueh said the wrestling schedule is different in the U.S. too. In Dubai, there were just a few meets each season.

“Here, we had two every week,” he said.

There may be more adjustments awaiting the Mroueh brothers as they get reacclimated to life in the U.S., but baseball offers a familiar experience for them, no matter where it’s being played.

“We’ve grown up with baseball, so we thought it’d be easier for us to catch on here,” Mazen Mroueh said. “We hadn’t played in a while, so it was a little challenging at first. But we picked it up from there. Now we just have to make sure to secure a spot on the team and then build off of that.”

Dave Melton is a freelance reporter.

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