The members of the District 11 Challenger League team will head to Mason, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati, for this year’s Challenger League Jamboree which will take place July 27th-29th. Teams from throughout the state of Ohio will gather for this weekend’s annual event that features fun and adventure for the players from District 11, and the other teams as well. The District 11 team will play two games on Saturday, and one on Sunday. This year’s Jamboree expects to have over 40 teams, consisting of over 450 players and 1500 parents and family members in attendance. This year’s event will be the 26th annual Challenger League Jamboree to take place. There are two fields in which the games will be played: Sundin Fields at Heritage Oak Park and Mason Sports Park, both of which are located in Mason.
In between games, there will be activities and games for the players to participate in. This event does an excellent job in ensuring the players and their families have a great time. Lunch will be provided for families by the hosts of the Jamboree, and an activities tent is available for players to be able to interact with their friends in an open and friendly environment. This year’s event will also feature a dance for the players to attend, and in attendance at the dance will be several superheroes for the kids to interact and take pictures with. “Our children face a lot of battles in their lives” said District 11 Challenger League President Michele King, “As parents, as volunteers, we try to be as grand as we can in everything we do”.
The Challenger League Jamboree allows kids that face mental and physical challenges to have fun, interact with new people, travel to a new city, all while playing baseball. The Challenger League is specifically designed to allow kids that face these challenges to compete in a full little league environment that is formatted to maximize their abilities. In all Challenger League games, no runs are counted, no outs are recorded, and there are no winners or losers.
Since its inception in 2006, King says this year’s group of kids was the largest they’ve had participate. “138 kids registered this year, which is the biggest year we’ve had so far” said King, “We were able to start a senior league this year for the older kids. Everyone was able to play with their peers and have a great time together”. As more kids continue to join the Challenger League, the more likely it is for the players to develop bonds and friendships with their peers that will last a lifetime. The District 11 Challenger League works hand in hand with the Autism Project of Southern Ohio to ensure that the players in District 11 are afforded every opportunity to have fun and make new friends while playing the great game of baseball.
For the kids, the best parts of this weekend may come not come from the baseball itself, but the surrounding circumstances. “They’re all excited to go somewhere new, play ball with their friends, and have a good time” said King, “They really like being able to stay at a hotel together, and just have one big adventure”.
The city that hosts the Challenger League Jamboree changes every year, and this year Mason was chosen as being the host city. Last year, the District 11 team traveled to Cleveland to compete in the 2017 Jamboree. In 2012, District 11 hosted the Jamboree, and District 11 President Michele King says they would definitely consider hosting the event again in the future.
To King, the most important thing for the kids to learn and feel this weekend is a sense of accomplishment. “You’ve worked hard all year and throughout the season” said King, “This is your rewards for a well-played season. I think it’s a sense of accomplishment”. If anyone would like to donate to the Challenger League team, they can make a check payable to District 11 Challenger League, and mail to P.O. Box 888, Portsmouth 45662.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT