From Page 1 Susan Erickson, another organizer for the Challengers League, talked about her and her family’s long-time involvement with the league. “We have been involved with the program for 16 …
From Page 1
Susan Erickson, another organizer for the Challengers League, talked about her and her family’s long-time involvement with the league.
“We have been involved with the program for 16 years; our son is 21,” Erickson said. “The league started with a small group of families here in Hudson. I am able to connect with local school districts and that's how we communicate about the program. Schools all across the St. Croix River Valley hears from us and some in eastern Minnesota. Once that information is out it's up to the parent or the family to decide if they want to enroll. From there, we create our rosters and we have three fields that play simultaneously on Sundays kind of separated by age, athletes abilities.”
This past July, the Challengers League had the opportunity to play at First National Bank of River Falls Field alongside the River Falls Post Legion 121 team. This was an inaugural game for the Challengers League at the field, the first of many the stadium can now provide with the new turf installation.
River Falls Baseball Council President Greg Peters said the new turf provides more opportunities for athletes with disabilities in western Wisconsin.
“That’s just another great thing turf is able to provide,” Peters said. “It gives a chance for athletes in wheelchairs and with other disabilities an opportunity to play baseball much more easily. Having the Challenger League out here gives more joy to me than it does the players. Seeing smiles on faces makes the heart feel good and I saw a ton of smiles that day.”
During games, the Challengers League has many volunteers who assist those who need help during an at bat or in the field. These volunteers are a great part of the consistency that so many families involved in the league like to have, as shared by Schomas.
“One of the things about our families is that they like consistency,” Schomas said. “Adapting to things being different can be a struggle for some. Our volunteers often come to help either on the field or they are just there to cheer on the teams and have a good time. If we've got 70 kids that show up on our fields on each Sunday, you might see anywhere from 10 to 30 individuals just to help and they are very friendly.”
Many players from the Challengers League did not get a chance to play in their inaugural game at First National Bank of River Falls Field on July 17. Even though some missed out due to previous obligations or other matters, the Challengers League will play there in the future, as the new turf at the ballpark helps accommodate players in the league.
“We do plan on coming back next year,” said Schomas. “We'd love to come back for something similar, maybe make it bigger or better, really put out a good show and just let our athletes have a really, really good time.”
If anyone is interested in volunteering with the Challengers League, contact the Hudson Boosters Club or Challengers League chief organizers Blake Schomas or Susan Erickson for more information on volunteer services.
Photo courtesy of Blake Schomas