Taking the Field with the Challenger Little League Program
Friday night, the District 41 Challenger program took the field at El Cajon Western Little League.
While they usually play on Saturday mornings, over 30 kids got together for their second annual night game.
"It becomes a family," said Challenger president Jeremy Arnold. "When you get into the community, you see what these young adults and kids have to offer."
Arnold, who had two of his own kids competing in Friday’s game, has run the program for about five years. What has he learned in that time?
"The love, said Arnold. "The love that these athletes have. They don’t know hate. Yeah, some of them, they might have a meltdown. But then you go comfort them, you go, ‘Hey, you’ll get a ball, you’ll get your turn,’ and then it just brightens their day."
"I know every single one of them. I think I’ve got 50 players, I know them by first name. They walk up, ‘Hey coach,’ and give me a hug. You look forward to that week to week when baseball starts."
That’s not the only thing Arthur looks forward to.
"My hope is to grow this to where — Western has four fields, I’d like to make it to where the Challengers use all four fields."
"People don’t know that there is a special needs program out there, there is something for even the young adults. Nobody’s turned away. You want to play, come out, have a good time."