I would like to nominate our entire Challenger Baseball Coaching Team as Honour Roll Candidates. Coaches Steve, Kim, Chris and Bruce are an inspiration to me and I am sure to all the parents who bring their kids to Challenger Baseball. Let me tell you why.
All our coaches are volunteers who have children with special needs. Coaches Steve and Kim have a busy family of three kids, one of whom plays Challenger Baseball, two of whom do an amazing array of sports and activities. That they are able to organize, coach and encourage the players at Challenger Baseball when they already have an overwhelming schedule is amazing to me. Coach Kim is a calm and empathetic parent; someone who takes time to talk to everyone, player and parent alike. She is a great listener and a welcoming advocate for our kids.
Coach Steve has an incredible talent for dealing with potentially problematic behaviour and turning around the behaviour so that the athlete is playing gently and appropriately with his team mates. He keeps our third baseman, who is in a wheelchair, engaged by throwing the ball to him every chance he gets. He also oversees our winter indoor training to ensure that skills are maintained through the colder months.
Coach Chris has his hands full with work, coaching and family but yet always arrives at the diamond with enthusiasm and energy. He has enlisted our daughter and her friend as “co-managers” so that they feel important and valued. He has turned my daughter into a player who loves the game and can’t wait for her turn at bat or in the field.
Coach Bruce is likewise a very busy man but takes the time to email us all with the weather forecast for the day and to close the game with cheers for everyone and a photo to capture the day’s games. My personal favourite features Darth Vader and the caption: May the Fourth be with you! The quips and jokes he shares with his team are enjoyed by everyone.
All four of these fine people take time out of their extraordinarily busy lives to coach, encourage and inspire all of us who come in contact with them. They already have full and potentially difficult lives but they have come together to enrich the lives of our children and we are grateful. There are not many places where the athletic ability of special needs kids are valued but this is one of them. Please accept my nomination of them for the Baseball Honour Roll. They certainly are heroes to our entire family!