Thursday, April 2, 2009

Challenger League

I don't know if any of you have heard of the Challenger League. It is a league created for children who have mental/physical handicaps. These children play baseball in their own league, the Challenger League. It is a National program, started by a father in 1986 for his son and four other children. By the end of the season, they had 14 players. The number grew, and has since joined forces with Little League.

It's great because it gives these kids who would not normally have a chance to play in an organized sport, the opportunity to be on a team and wear a uniform, etc. How this works is the Challenger division uses "buddies" to help their players field the ball, run to first base, hit, etc. A few weekends ago, we had some teams from our League be the "buddies" to the children on the Challenger division. It was awesome! The handicaps varied. Some needed more help than others. Our boys from Chino National were so patient, and were actually having a lot of fun helping the kids. Noone made fun of anybody, noone was singled out, everyone was on a level playing field (excuse the pun). I actually think our "buddies" learned more from this experience than they thought they would. There were kids I overheard saying how much fun they had, and they wanted to do it again. We cheered for the kids so loud! They announced each one by name, and Landon was cheering them on. It was amazing to see.

At one point, I glanced over at Troy and told him this may one day be a very familiar place for us. We may be there on weekends watching Gavin play in a few years. It was touching to be a part of. We are a huge baseball family, and to know there are organizations out there that allow children with handicaps/disabilities be involved with baseball or any type of sport for that matter is so great. We will follow Gavin's lead and support whatever direction he chooses to go, but yet try to expose him to various activities. A sense of normalcy is so important I think for any kind of disability. The Challenger League brings that, along with prideful children who are so happy to be able to just run/walk/or be pushed around the bases in their wheelchair after getting a base hit!

Kudos to the Challenger League and all their Volunteers!

Big hit!

Kids in Pirates uniform are the "buddies"
End of game hand shake
Even Gavin enjoyed it!

1 comment:

  1. I really wish we could have made it, let me know when the next one is. Gavins smile is contagious, I love that last picture.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.