It's great to be a Lion. We serve.

North Royalton Lions Club

Baseball for the Blind

Lions District 13-C was proud to be involved with The National Beep Baseball Association in 2001. The weeklong tournament was held in Strongsville, Ohio July 29 through August 4. The district participated with many aspects of the tournament. We helped with the airport pick-ups, the hospitality room at the hotel, umpiring games, dog sitting, set up and clean up of the fields and numerous other jobs. Along with the Cleveland Sight Center the volunteers became a major part in the tournament. Below is a Lions view of this incredible sport.

--Many people have heard of blind bowling or blind golf. Both sports are hard enough when one can see, but just try to bowl or golf with your eyes closed. In both these sports a "spotter" is used to point the visually impaired player in the right direction and give advice when needed. Still, hard enough to do. Now add these factors: running 100 feet in a straight line, fielding a hard hit ball by sound only, and swinging a bat at a pitched ball without the ability to see.

   The game is simple. It is six innings (about two hours) long. The bases are 100 feet from  home plate at first and third. The batter must reach a base (chosen at random) before a fielder finds the ball, picks it up and has control of it. The batter gets four strikes (they must swing at all pitches) and unlimited foul balls. Each team gets three outs per inning.

    The "World Series of Beep Baseball" was held in Strongsville this past year. Teams from all over the country and Taiwan participated. Each team played three games on Wednesday and Thursday, two games on Friday, and the finals were on Saturday. These games were played in 90 degree weather. Yet not one player complained.

    Every player that I met (about 40) was in great shape. They have their own workout system to keep in shape for this event. All the athletes seemed genuinely grateful for the help we supplied. In chatting with these men and women, I found that not one of them believe that they are handicapped. It was awe inspiring to see the level of intense competition they exhibited throughout the week. They all played long and hard for a chance to be called "World Champs". In my eyes... they all are!! -


                ---written by Dan Lester, North Royalton Lions Club