Outside of Special Olympics, children with disabilities rarely have opportunities to participate in sports. That is about to change in Cache Valley. Mayson Astle is a Special Education teacher at Ridgeline High School and she is creating a baseball league for kids with any disability, called Field of Angels
“We’re not cutting it off at physical disability or learning disability or an intellectual disability,” Astle explains. “It’s any kid with a disability, so they can come and play baseball.”
Astle got the idea for the league from a friend whose mother created a similar program in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Astle says unified sports leagues exist throughout Utah for soccer and track and field through Special Olympics, but nothing for baseball. Growing up in a family that is big into baseball (her brother plays for the Ridgeline Riverhawks), Astle wanted to create a new opportunity for kids who have only been able to enjoy the sport from the sidelines.
The schedule hasn’t been finalized yet, but Field of Angels will be played at the Ridgeline baseball and softball fields in July. Registration closes on Friday, May 10 but Astle says they won’t turn anyone away. Besides players, the league is also in need of volunteers, who Astle refers to as Angel Buddies.
“We’ve got a few kids from the Mountain Crest baseball team who have signed up to be their Buddies, and a couple from the Ridgeline team who have signed up to be Buddies. We’re signing them up.
“Anyone who wants to be a Buddy, we’ll have you pair up with one of our participants and you’ll help them hit the ball, you’ll help them run the bases, help them catch the balls, you’ll help them pitch. It will be a one-on-one experience for everyone.”
There really isn’t any age limit to participate, and it is open for both boys and girls from all over the area with all levels and abilities, encouraging participation in wheelchairs, walkers, and assisted independence. There is a $20 fee to participate, which Astle says helps cover the costs associated with using the field and for refreshments.
“We’re not making any money off of this. It’s just going straight back into helping the kids have the best experience possible.”
Registration and more information are available at fieldofangels.net. Astle says people with questions can also contact her directly on her cell phone at (435) 770-7672.
AUDIO: Mayson Astle on 106.9 The Fan discussing Field of Angels