PARSIPPANY — The involvement of buddies in the Little League West Challenger Games shows a great sense of community and inclusiveness. The Challenger Division of Little League West provides children with physical and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in organized baseball games.
The Challenger League has been holding this event since 1999, providing special-needs children with the opportunity to play baseball. More than 100 volunteers, called “buddies,” assisted the children in playing before taking them to the fields against each other.
When buddies volunteer at the Challenger Games, they offer support and companionship to the young athletes. Buddies can assist the players with various tasks, such as helping them bat, run the bases, or field the ball. Their presence and assistance not only enhance the players’ experience but also promote a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
Volunteering as a buddy at the Challenger Games is a fulfilling experience and an opportunity to create lasting memories and positively impact the lives of young athletes. It’s heartwarming to see the community coming together to support and uplift children with disabilities, enabling them to participate in sports and enjoy the benefits of teamwork, sportsmanship, and physical activity.
The Challenger Division was established in 1989 as a separate division of Little League to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 4-18, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school, to enjoy the game of baseball along with the millions of other children who participate in this sport worldwide. Today, more than 30,000 children participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide.
Teams are set up according to abilities rather than age and can include as many as 15-20 players. Challenger games can be tee ball games, coach pitches, player pitches, or a combination.
In a Challenger game, each player gets a chance to bat. The side is retired when the offense has batted through the roster, when a pre-determined number of runs have been scored, or when three outs are recorded. Little League recommends that no score be kept during Challenger games. The Challenger players wear the same uniforms, shoulder patches and safety equipment as other Little League players.
The involvement of buddies in events like the Challenger Games fosters a more inclusive society, breaking down barriers and promoting understanding and acceptance. It’s an excellent initiative showcasing sports’ power to unite people and celebrate diversity.
Kudos to all the buddies who pitch in to help at the Parsippany Little League Challenger Games! Their contributions undoubtedly make a significant difference in the lives of young athletes and inspire others to support inclusive programs and initiatives.