The smiles on their faces said it all on Saturday, August 20, 2022 as the Northumberland Challengers baseball team had their first game.
It may have only been an exhibition game at Peter Delanty Park in Cobourg’s east end, but the smiles on the players and those in attendance said it all as the Northumberland Challengers took on the Peterborough Challengers.
Northumberland Challengers coach, Robert Seguin said it was the first game as a team and they invited the Peterborough Challengers down for a friendly game.
Challenger Baseball was started by the Toronto Blue Jays Care Foundation.
The program runs in partnership with Little League Canada and Baseball Canada, specifically designed to empower children, youth and adults living with physical and/or cognitive disabilities states the site.
The program teaches athletes living with disabilities the core life skills inherent to baseball, including: teamwork, communication, determination, resiliency, inclusion, support and courage.
Challenger Baseball ensures every athlete has the opportunity to play in a fun and safe environment where they learn to become more independent, build confidence, improve their communication skills, and set and achieve their own personal goals.
Peterborough Challengers started five-years ago and Saturday was Northumberland’s first game.
“We’re just getting our program off the ground,” said Seguin.
“We haven’t even got our official charter yet. We have a meeting with the Challenger Foundation next week. But they are very supportive and we’re hoping to be able to start a program here in Cobourg, Port Hope and Northumberland area.”
The athletes from Cobourg were anxiously looking forward to the game, with some coming over an hour prior to the start of the 10 a.m. game.
Seguin said the team practices once a week, but to have the games takes it to another level.
“The excitement and motivation to play a sport at the highest level and have fun is probably the main thing for the athletes.”
“For the parents and the caregivers it’s really nice to get a little bit of a break, but enjoy themselves.
Seguin said for many of the caregivers it’s a 24-hour, seven day a week commitment so it’s nice they can sit back and have fun cheering on the athletes