featureBuddy Baseball continuing to conduct sign ups ahead of upcoming season
Buddy Baseball continuing to conduct sign ups ahead of upcoming season

Buddy Baseball continuing to conduct sign ups ahead of upcoming season

In the midst of the pandemic and with spring around the corner, the Red River Valley Down Syndrome Society is scheduled to tee off its 2021 Buddy Baseball season. Saturday is the last day to sign players up in person, which costs $20 per player and $5 per volunteer. Sign-ups will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lamar Avenue Church of Christ. Due to COVID-19, though, online sign-ups are encouraged, which can be executed by clicking here. Online sign-ups are open through Sunday, March 14.

Last year, organizers were ready to get the 2020 season going, but the virus had other ideas as the season got shut down. Buddy Baseball was down but not out, though, as it made a gradual comeback as it is on the doorstep of its return.

“We started our season and had sign-ups done by early March, which is of course when we went into lockdown. We had to put everything on hold, but we were able to sort of do it over the summer, but we were able to put something together,” said Billy Harris, Director of Programming at the Red River Valley Down Syndrome Society/REACH Center. “We did kind of a free show-up-if-you-want type of season during the fall. This year, we really wanted to get back to a normal schedule. We wanted to have everything planned out and I talked with the people who organized the original little league, and they felt confident a season would happen, so we are really excited about it. It gives the kids a good opportunity to play a sport with their peers that they may not get on a normal day. This allows them to have fun and be a kid basically.”

The season is expected to run as it normally does, which will run from March 27 through May 9 of this year. All games will be played at 9 a.m. on Saturdays at the Woodall Baseball Fields except for April 7, which is Buddy Baseball’s bye week. With that, the important goal of providing players with routine activity and social interaction in their schedules will be accomplished.

“There aren’t any special plans, but we just really want to get back to the normalcy of things,” Harris said. “We don’t want to have to call people and tell them games are canceled from covid. We want to play nine or 10 games, interact with each other, compete, and have a good time. That’s what we are aiming for.”

In order to run a smooth operation, volunteers are needed to assist the players with physical or mental disabilities during games. Players and the Buddy Baseball program as a whole is in need of volunteers to make this season possible.

“Volunteers are very important and needed. A lot of kids may not be able to run and will need help during the games,” Harris said. “We are going to have the kids play, but the buddy will help them with things if they are in a wheelchair or something of that nature. Anyone who is 12 or older, being a buddy is a great thing.”

For players, the sign-up fee includes registration to play, a jersey, and a hat. The fees collected from volunteer sign-ups will be used for a pizza party for the players at the end of the season. Bats and gloves are provided for players if needed.

For any questions or more information, visit the RRVDSS’s Facebook page by clicking here, send an email to bharris@rrvdss.org, call 903-783-1922, or visit www.parisreach.org. For more sports coverage, click here.

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