A Little League Just for Children with Disabilities

Co-Commissioners Bart Lewis and TJ TaylorGabe Uebel

Throwing a ball and running the bases is something that many children enjoy, and the Anderson County Little League has been helping children with disabilities play baseball as a way to help them have fun and appreciate the game.  Called the Challenger League, the little league has been putting together special games for those with disabilities for seven years and was the first sanctioned little league in the state to do so.

The Challenger League originally started when Bart Lewis was the president of the little league.  Wanting to include those with disabilities to play the game and give them the experience that many children enjoy, the Challenger League has steadily grown with children participating not just from Anderson County but also from the surrounding counties.

According to co-commissioner TJ Taylor, volunteers from around the area come together at the start of each game on Saturday during the Spring.  Creating a buddy system, the volunteers, which have included the Anderson County High School Football, Basketball, and Soccer teams, as well as the fire department and various churches, help the children play the game while their parents can enjoy watching their children have fun. “This is just something special for them,” TJ said.

The Challenger League currently has two teams and is growing steadily to possibly allow the teams to double to divide older and younger children.  According to current little league president, Gabe Uebel, the Challengers are completely funded by the little league and doesn’t cost parents anything to have their children play.  “It’s been a blessing.  I think for our kids that are involved, they see the essence of baseball, and it puts everything in perspective,” Gabe said.

Over the years, the Challengers have received a number of grants and sponsorships to make it happen.  Most recently, they received a grant to make the dugouts at the Legion Park handicap accessible.  Together with all the volunteers, these children will continue to have a great way to have fun for many years.

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