Spring means the start of baseball season, and for 12 individuals from Swann Special Care Center they will be celebrating the sport by participating in the Tom Jones Challenger Little League this spring. The Challenger League is sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club and is run in partnership with the Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation.
The Challenger Division of C-U Little League was established in 1999 and is open to children ages 6 to 21 who have intellectual and/or physical disabilities. It provides the full benefits of Little League participation for these children in an athletic environment structured to their abilities.
During each game, players have an assigned buddy to provide support as needed whether on the field or for batting. Each player hits from a tee or swings at a pitched ball as appropriate when batting and they also play in the field. All of the athletes experience the joy of teamwork, the thrill of the crowd, and the pride that comes from a job well done.
This season, the Swann team, which is sponsored by United Access, has 11 games on its schedule in May and June. Games are held on Saturday mornings and on some Tuesday evenings. Good luck to everyone participating this season and remember the motto of the league, which is "Have Fun!"