Opening Day for Challenger Baseball
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.--Baseball. It's America's favorite pastime and a game for all, thanks to Challenger baseball, a division of Little League that gives special needs children an opportunity to play and enjoy the sport like any kid.
"I had a good time playing baseball," participant Raymond Halsey said. "My buddy helped me bat which was actually my favorite part."
Over 60 players were paired with buddies from CMU athletics, including the women's basketball team--fresh off an Elite Eight appearance--to kick off the 2013 season.
"It's a treat to be a buddy," founder Carma Brown said. "Because of that, the buddies know their role when they come out here. The buddies have made the program successful. I just facilitate it. It's how the buddies interact with the players that makes the Challenger program successful."
It's a rewarding day for everyone involved, but for some, it hits a little closer to home.
"It's really important to me because I know the importance of it," junior running back Daniel Rankin said. "My little brother is autistic, and how special something like this can be to someone with a disability is just huge to me.
"It touches my heart. A lot of kids on the team come out just to be supportive and they have a good time with it. Rather, with me, it's close to home."
And the best part? There are no losers. No one keeps score, and everyone goes home a winner.