Transcript for the Piece Audio version of Challenger Softball Team
SOUND: CROWDS CHEERING AT A SOFTBALL GAME
AMANDA: In some ways softball is. I call it, like, team effort. Yeah. That?s what I call it. You know. You give a lot of team effort when you hit. You give a lot of team effort to your friends, you give a lot of team effort to everyone else, really. For one thing. (calls out) Go Kev!
SOUND: CHEERING AND CLAPPING
DEB: When Amanda was born she was born perfectly fine. By the time she was 15 months old I knew that something was wrong. She did everything normally with the standing, the sitting, the walking and the rolling. But she wasn?t making any sound. Children?s Hospital was the one that really tied in the true diagnosis and labeled her developmentally immature, which is a nice way of saying that she?s educably retarded. She has an IQ of about 47. Her speech will always be slurred. And when she starts talking and people turn around and stare, is that kid making fun of the retarded people or is she retarded or what?s the problem?
SOUND: PEOPLE CALLING OUT FOR AMANDA.
AMANDA: I?m the oldest, the second oldest here. 17. 17 and a half really, I?ll be 18 soon. We get out of here when we turn 21.
SOUND: CLAPPING AND CHEERING
RANDY: The Challenger division was started by families that had handicapped children, physically as well as mentally. We have children that actually play on crutches. Kids in wheelchairs. And they experience the thrill of what a game?s like. What it?s like to be in a participation sport. Most of the kids that play all have brothers and sisters and they are the helpers on the games. They?re the ones that you see out on the field helping the kids. And most of those children do play sports. For instance my other daughter plays softball, my eldest daughter did. And most of the kids there have siblings that do play sports. And they do come out and support them. So it?s kind of their way, it?s their day, it?s their time of playing. And it gives them that team effort.
SOUND: KID SAYS "HITTER" AND SOUNDS OF RUNNING
DEB: There are still many times that I have to walk away because it just tears me up--that I see 6 to 800 quote, normal unquote children playing ball and complaining that the fields are wet or the grass is lumpy or the umpire was unfair and the other kids can?t hit the ball and what?s wrong with them. And then if you watch a challenger game and see that there is absolutely no meanness. And it doesn?t matter if children sit up there and strike out ten times. And nobody says ah, she?s a loser, ah he?s a loser.
SOUND: RUNNING TOWARD HOME BASE
RANDY:Every Sunday when we sit in the stands parents bounce off different questions to with each other because we?re all facing the same problems with funding for special needs children and children attending regular proms at regular high schools verses special programs, and are they going to be ostracized in society. And we?ve seen good teachers, we?ve seen bad teachers. We?ve seen programs set into place and they?ve promised us the world and have delivered nothing. We?ve seen teachers that have had no training that have come through like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because they just cared.
SOUND: CHEERING FOR "ALFRED" ONE OF THE PLAYERS
RANDY: Everybody says to you oh, gee, I know what you?re going through. Well, they don?t. It?s a nice thing for them to say and it?s okay, and I appreciate what they?re attempting to say and do. But you don?t. You don?t know the heartache and all the stuff that goes with that. So when you go to the games, and you bond with the other parents it?s a support group for each other. Because first you deny that there?s something wrong with your child, and then you learn to accept it. Then you try to figure out ways to get around it and accept it. And by getting into the organized sports with your children it opens up avenues to different people where they spend time, and we talk about the different needs and stuff for our children. And we find out different things. We find out different programs, and we have one lady who helped us out with programs from Amanda. We?ve helped some people with getting funding from the state. It?s just everybody?s sharing. And so in a kind of way it?s its own little community, or its own little support group.
RANDY: There?s nothing more exciting than to watch these kids hit that ball. And the look on their face and they just run to the base, it?s just so amazing. And it?s so cool for them, I don?t think there?s anything more a parent could ask for. Nothing.
SOUND: KIDS CALLING OUT
AMANDA: Mostly, I like the bat a lot and the catching a lot. And mostly, I have no idea what disability I have anyway. I have no idea what my disability is....
SOUND: BALL IS HIT AND RUNNING TOWARD HOME BASE