Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Challenger League

Ryan just started playing Challenger League baseball.

And it's hilarious.
Ryan playing shortstop? Maybe second base? It's all very fluid.
The league is for kids of all ages with any special needs, so you'll have a tiny six-year-old girl playing alongside a boy in his third year of high school, or a kid inching along in a power wheelchair that wasn't designed for off-road use sharing the field with a hyperactive autistic kid who feels compelled to run back and forth between third base and home plate several times while his teammate is still at bat.

The game play itself doesn't appear to have any rules, but the cheering is hearty and pure. A kid can swing at the ball 15 times during a single at-bat and all the parents on the sidelines will clap and voice their encouragement for every one of those swings; kid makes any contact with the ball at all, the parents erupt in cheers. If the coach (who pitches from about five feet away from home plate) catches the ball, he chucks it backward through his legs so someone can field a grounder. Instead of having traditional innings, every kid on the bench gets one turn at bat.

Ryan seems very happy with the whole affair. He seems proud to put on his uniform and loves running around the bases. And I'm enjoying hanging out with the other moms and cheering on all the kids. His youngest teammates include some of the most joyous children I've ever seen - their smiles are truly infectious. And no one bats an eye when the girl on third base randomly books it for the fence instead of running toward home - the nearest parent just picks her up sideways and runs comically carrying her back toward the infield.

1 comment:

  1. So cool!

    Love your tag "sportsball".

    I've known other people who do Challenger League too.

    The fluidity!


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