RANDOLPH, NJ- Baseball is a simple game. A game played for the purpose of having a good time with people you enjoy being around. Sometimes that can be lost in translation, that is not the case for the Morris County Challenger Baseball League.
On Sunday, May 18, Randolph hosted a game for The Morris County Challenger League, a baseball league for disabled children. The game of baseball is not so simple for them to play. But with the help of compassionate volunteers, it becomes just that. Simple, and a heck of a lot of fun.
The league was established in 1999. Since then, the popularity of the league has grown substantially. This year, in the 2014 season, there were 90 participants compared to 62 the first year the league was around. This rise in popularity is not just a coincidence.
Over 60 youth volunteers from Randolphs' Little League baseball, recreation softball, and the high school baseball team, were on hand to assist the kids and help them play the game. The volunteers did an amazing job, enthusiastically engaging with the players, smiling most of the day, and clearly getting something positive out of the experience.
Will Rea, a senior baseball player for Randolph High School, and one of the days volunteer helpers, experienced this first hand. Rea comented, “Its always good to give back. These kids can't do many of the things you and I can do, and watching them have such a good time out here is amazing. This is my first year doing this but I am definitely going to try and come back again.” Strong words from a kid who will be far away attending Indiana University after he graduates.
Michael Bertram, President of The Morris Country Challenger League for the past 5 years knows what the game of baseball can do. Everyone should be able to play baseball and it can inspire everybody around the game. Bertram said, “Seeing the kids play on a great day and watching the smiles on their face light up is what this league is all about. That’s exactly what this league does and the games that took place on Sunday afternoon are enjoyed by everybody involved."
One of the highlights of the day occured when Nick Porfirio ripped a 250-foot double that soared over everyone's head, and rolled far into the outfield. The crowd went wild, and the volunteer kids clearly enjoyed every second of it.
“More people need to come to events like this” said Tom Butler, who has been coaching in this league for the last 5 years. He knows the more support these kids have, the better time they have.
Everybody should be able to enjoy the game of baseball in front of a cheering audience. That’s why The Morris County Challenger Baseball League is so special; it provides an opportunity for kids of all ages to simply enjoy the game of baseball.