Winners Abound In Tyler's Special Softball League - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/24/03 - Tyler

Winners Abound In Tyler's Special Softball League

Softball season ended Saturday for some East Texas athletes. They were undefeated this year, and the year before that, and the year before that. In fact, these kids were winners every time they took the field.

For kids like twelve year-old Anna, the Challenger League is a chance to finally step up to the plate.

"We don't really play the official rules," Anna admits. "Everybody gets to bat no matter how many times it takes them to hit the ball."

Anna plays in the Challenger Division, a Tyler league for kids with mental and physical handicaps. Anna has a progressive genetic disease.

"I have never been able to walk normally," she explains. "It's gotten worse, so that if I'm going to do almost anything, I need a wheelchair."

Anna has played in the six-team league for three years. She says the on-field fun is nice, but the lift she gets from just playing is even better.

"When you know that there are other people who are going through maybe not the exact same thing but the same kind of thing that you are, it helps you get through the week."

In this league, there are no standings. Everybody bats. Everybody scores. Every kid gets a chance to play, and a chance to be just like every other kid.

"It's good to have a time to be yourself," Anna says. "Nobody has to worry about being normal out here because everyone is normal. And that helps give a sense of being able to get through life."

For these kids, it's the perfect league. Every game ends in a tie.

If you have a child you'd like to enroll in the challenger league, or if you'd like to volunteer to be a buddy for next year's season, contact steve foster at 903-597-3945.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.

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