'Challenger' baseball offers joy of the game for the disabled - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

'Challenger' baseball offers joy of the game for the disabled

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The game is America's and so are the kids. They are different, that is certain, but their desire to play the game is often identical to those who don't bear the label "disabled."

The narrow minded can still come up with plenty lots of reasons children with these conditions should refrain, but on the West University Little League fields the nay-sayers are simply ignored by those who've seen the Challenger kids in action.

"We have so many players who can throw and who can hit," said Chad Wiginton, both a Challenger coach and parent.

"You should never under estimate a child with special needs. They do so much," adds his wife and Challenger booster Kelley.

For these kids, with often severe physical and mental challenges, the skills sometimes come slowly, but they do come.

"This is the perfect place for them. Sports teaches everything, whether you're a regular kid or a special needs kid," said Brandon Alexander, another Challenger coach and parent.

The "Challengers" all throw, catch and hit, helped along by a volunteer "buddy" eager to connect.

"Even if it's just for one day a week, it makes them feel great and it gives me a great feeling," said Trinity Riley, a young volunteer.

The games are a welcome reason to raucously cheer for parents and loved ones to whom life has thrown a difficult pitch.

"The parents get a chance to be around other families who have experienced the same stuff they have, so it's just awesome," says Alexander.

But the deal closer is clearly the collective effort of the kids - their willingness to try, their joy at success, large or small, on a field where friendship and good feeling flow.

"This is all about having fun. This is about giving kiddos with disabilities the chance to be like everybody else," says Chad Wiginton.

"They need stuff like this to be able to show America, show everybody what they can do," adds Alexander.

Sunday the Challenger League completed its tenth season in West U.

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