Tuesday, April 21, 2009


"These kids are just happy to get a chance to play, have a good time and by giving boys and girls with physical and mental disabilities this opportunity, the league lets them see and experience the sport of baseball and the camaraderie of a team," says League organizer Greg Molter, from Sunbury Pa.

In the world of Challenger Division Little League, the true meaning of being a ballplayer and teammate is the focus.

"It's a team sport, but here, it's team fun. Most of the time, these kids aren't included in the mainstream of sports. That's what we are here for. Most of the kids you think that would not be able to have a coach pitch to them don't want to hit off of the tee, they want to have a pitcher. Kids that needed assistance to go around the bases when we first started now get out there and go around on their own."

What this means to the kids can be seen on their faces. The smiles and laughs of the competitors come from the simple joy of getting to participate, to feel accepted and to know they have a strong support structure behind them. Before every at-bat, the kids get to hear their names over the loud speaker and then get to walk to the plate amid cheers from both sides of the field.

"Encouragement is the key," announced Molter over the loud speaker before the game.

"What we don't have here are parents saying you should have caught that' or you missed that one, ump'," Molter said. "What we do have is positive encouragement from the coaches, staff and everyone in the stands. We have fans come to watch Challenger ball because it's fun and that's the whole deal."

What a difference it would make for every boy and girl who plays on a team if they could hear encouraging words like this!

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