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Children With Disabilities Can Play Baseball Too

By Guest Author On December 25, 2010 Under Improve Your Self Esteem

Challenger Baseball of Cherry Hill has been chosen to participate in the 2010 Challenger Division activities in Williamport, PA one day prior to the Little League World Series games.  This is a joy for the competitors and a  terrific acknowledgement for the volunteers of Cherry Hill, NJ who surrender their Sundays to help youngsters with both mental and physical disabilities to participate in baseball.


The Challenger Division was create in 1989 as a independent division of Little League to enable young boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 5-18, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school, to experience the game of baseball together with the many thousands of other children who play Little League Baseball worldwide..  Believe it or not, more than 30,000 kids take part today in in excess of 900 Challenger Divisions around the globe.


Squads are comprised of participants according to abilities, as opposed to age, and may include as many as 15-20 participants. Challenger games may be played as t-ball games, kid pitch, coach pitch, or any mixture of the three.  At the Cherry Hill field there are children of all ages who play in the league from all over the Cherry Hill area.  All participants are taken irrespective of their ability and are provided with uniforms at not charge


In a Challenger game, each player gets an opportunity to bat. This way every participant is involved in the game. The sides change when the team at bat has batted through the roster, or when an agreed upon number of runs have been scored, or when three outs are recorded. The idea is for the kids to have fun and enjoy being out there on the field with their family and friends.  Scores are usually not recorded during these games as advocated by Little League. However, in Cherry Hill, the children with more advanced abilities have “real” games against minor division Little League teams.. The Challenger players put on the same uniforms, shoulder patches and safety equipment as other Little Leaguers.


One of the advantages to the community league of having a Challenger Division is the fact that it encourages the use of “buddies” for the Challenger players. At Cherry Hill, the buddies help out the Challenger players not only on the field but whenever possible. They persuade the players to take the plate and make plays themselves. However, the buddy is at all times nearby to help in the event that they are needed.


If you would like your Little League players to find out about assisting others, Challenger Baseball is definitely a great method for the usual players to gain knowledge of about the challenges that other kids face on a day-to-day basis.  I would have to say that the individual benefits you get for giving your time to Challenger Baseball can not be exceeded. Once you see the happiness in the faces of these kids playing baseball, you will wonder why you didn’t get started doing this sooner.

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