Cranbrook Minor Ball adding program for children with disabilities in 2018

‘Challenger Baseball’ to be a first of its kind for the East Kootenays, expected to launch in spring

The Cranbrook Minor Ball Association announced this week that they are launching the ‘Challenger Baseball’ program for the 2018 season.

‘Challenger’ provides an opportunity for children with cognitive and physical disabilities to participate in the sport of baseball and do so at their own pace and ability.

According to CMBA president Rod McLean, the new initiative is a collaborative effort between the Cranbrook Minor Ball Association, Baseball Canada, Baseball BC, Little League Canada, the Jays Care Foundation, and “is played in a safe, recreational environment where there are no strikes, no outs, no scores and everyone is a winner.”

The program’s intention is to fill a gap in organized sports “whereas primarily only able-bodied players get the opportunity to participate” and hopes to create a community in which “children with disabilities can play organized baseball, just like their peers in an environment where they won’t feel inadequate or discriminated against.”

A first of its kind offering in the East Kootenays, McLean believes that Challenger Baseball ensures that Cranbrook Ball now “truly offers participation for all levels and ability.”

“Baseball brings kids together to play a team sport, socialize with their peers, learn new sport and life skills,” McLean said of the sport’s importance. “Perhaps most importantly it gets kids outside, in the fresh-air and sunshine having fun and putting a smile on their faces.”

While the association hoped to implement the program last season, they were a little too late to get started in 2017. According to McLean, the CMBA’s new Director of Baseball & Coach Development, Marquis Christian, was instrumental in “turning the thought of having Challenger Baseball into a reality for our association.”

While the program is still in its early stages and won’t officially launch until the spring of 2018, details will gradually be released over the next few months.

In the new year, a Challenger Baseball information night will be held and to stay on top of all the goings-on, McLean suggests that those interested follow the Cranbrook Minor Ball Association on Facebook and visit www.cranbrookminorball.net.

He also encourages those looking for more information to specific questions to call him at 250-581-1975, call Marquis Christian at 250-581-1523 or email cmba@outlook.ca.

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