Registration is currently underway for Challenger Football, Basketball and Cheer.
Challenger Sports, a 501 (c) 3 organization, promotes youth sports for children ages 5-21 with a wide array of disabilities, finding the abilities in each, so that they can enjoy the sports everyone loves so much.
In its seventh season, Challenger Football will hold its first game on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Strake Jesuit with games to follow at St. Thomas, Episcopal, Southwest Football League and Rice University. Challenger Basketball games will take place in January 2013 at Strake Jesuit, co-hosted by St. Thomas and at St. Agnes Academy, co-hosted by Episcopal.
“When we started the Challenger programs, we thought we’d change the lives of special needs kids,” Challenger Sports Board Chair and Founder Joni Hruska Fichter, who also serves as Little League International District 16 ADA for Challenger Baseball said. “In reality, they have changed our lives and touched the hearts of our entire community in a million ways.”
Fichter credits the middle and high school age buddies for brightening the lives of the Challenger players one game at a time.
Buddies are often the area high school athletes as well as the Rice Owls but in addition, National Charity League, area school’s National Honor Societies, service clubs, and church youth groups all participate as well as individuals who just want to volunteer and help with Challenger.
“The buddies make each game special and the lines between abilities and disabilities disappear as these amazing teenagers assist children with special needs play, score and win,” she said.
The impact goes far beyond the playing field and court and carries over into the classroom and community as people learn to be inclusive, understanding, and caring rather than excluding those who appear different but whose dreams of playing ball parallel those who help them, Fichter said.
Thanks to the gracious support of donors and sponsor like West U Rotary, who recently hosted the July 4th BBQ and gave all proceeds to Challenger, registration fees are minimal.
Challenger Football, Basketball & Cheer registration fee is $25 for the combined fall/winter season and Challenger Baseball is $20 for the spring season.
Registration forms for Challenger Football, Basketball & Cheer are available now and registration will close Aug. 20. Challenger Baseball registration will start on-line at www.westull.org on Nov. 1.
To register, contact Joni Hruska Fichter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-621-8880. Forms are also available here.