If you missed the post on Thursday over at Mark's Ephemera , you should check it out. I thought of it when I went to the Little League ballfields on Saturday for my son's game.
My son's coach wants the kids at the field one hour before game time. He wants them to get warmed up and have some swings before the game. When we arrived I noticed a huge crowd (by our league's standards) around one field. My son went off to join his team and I went to see what was going on at the other field. I saw about forty kids of all ages on the field. I asked one of the parents what was going on and they said it was a Challengers Division game. I hadn't heard of this division so they explained it to me and it was quite hearwarming.
The Challenger's Division is for kids with mental or physical challenges. The league creates teams, free of charge, for these awesome kids and other kids and teams from the league volunteer to serve as helpers. The volunteers help the kids at the plate, running the bases and playing in the field. It was quite a treat to see the Challenge Division kids having such good time. They were laughing and smiling and completely happy. The volunteer kids were having such a good time. It was hard to tell who got more out of the experience.
I hope my son gets a chance to be a helper for one of these games. I think it will give him some perspective and let him see how much joy the game of baseball can bring to someone.
I know they'll never see it, but I want to thank Little League International and our own local league for taking part in the Challenger's League. It's so nice to see baseball bring people together in such a positive way.