One-hour Documentary to Chronicle Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers Head Coach’s Mission Trip to Peru
By Boaz Wadel
For the first time since San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has made his annual pilgrimage to Piura, Peru, camera crews have been allowed to follow him.
On Sept. 2, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area is set to premiere an exclusive, one-hour documentary that chronicles Harbaugh's annual mission trip.
The first airing of the documentary, slated for 9 p.m. PT, titled "Peruball: Jim Harbaugh in South America," will take an inspiring look at the humanitarian side of the San Francisco 49ers head coach.
The documentary is narrated by Comcast Bay Area's Dave Feldman and produced and edited by Sean Maddison.
According to a press release provided by Comcast SportsNet, for eight days, the missionaries helped at the parish of Santisimo Sacramento with its daily community outreach programs and ministries for the people of Piura - a small town almost 600 miles north of Lima. Sixty percent of the population lives in poverty and 20 percent is in extreme poverty.
The documentary reveals Harbaugh's dedication to his faith in God, his craft (coaching and playing football), and helping others.
"It's beyond rewarding; it's a chance to do something good," Harbaugh said of his recent mission trip. "You can pretty much help someone from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed."
Jim Harbaugh about to start a game of
Along the way, impromptu games of "Peruball" - a combination of football, rugby and soccer - seem to break out everywhere Harbaugh goes, a game where the rules to evolve each day and with each person who plays it.
Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback, taught groups of Peruvian boys about American football, put them through running and catching drills, and then kicked off games of "Peruball."
The group of humanitarians included Harbaugh's older children - Jay, who works on the offensive coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens (coached by Jim's brother, John), James Jr. and Grace - Feldman and numerous volunteers.
The group built houses, visited the sick and elderly, delivered food packages to an orphanage, worked the rice fields, and attended daily Mass with the locals.
The coach at work
Harbaugh first learned about the mission trip through friends at St. Raymond Catholic Church, his parish in Menlo Park, Calif., and has made the annual trip since 2009. An American priest, Father Joseph William Uhen, has been the pastor of Santisimo Sacramento since 1993 and coordinates the charitable efforts for his parish.
The parish's outreach includes a women's shelter, an orphanage, a drug rehabilitation center, a hospice facility, and a tuition-free Catholic school for children in kindergarten through 11th grade.