Giving a chance: Softball league continues effort to provide for special needs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 1, 2018

VIDALIA — Each individual deserves to play ball.

That phrase is the motto and mission of the Challenger Division of the Vidalia Girls Softball League, which serves as league for anyone who has mental or physical disabilities who wants to participate in softball.

“With the help of the Vidalia Girls Softball League, the Challenger League makes that dream come true for individuals who have special needs,” said Challenger League chairman, Lou Ann Jordan.

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The Challenger League has been serving  Natchez, Vidalia and surrounding areas for five years now. Throughout that time, it has given families with individuals who have disabilites the opportunity to play a sport like everyone else.

Since Jordan has helped grow such an outlet, she has received many compliments and thanks from families who have had players partake in the league. However, Jordan isn’t satisfied. She wants the program to become bigger than what it is.

“We are trying to build this program,” Jordan said. “We encourage everyone in our area, in Natchez, Vidalia, Ferriday, the Miss-Lou area, that has special needs who wants to play a sport to come out and play.

“We are trying to build this into something even bigger and better, every year.”

While Jordan would like more individuals to come out and play, she would also like more people in the community to volunteer — which they could do in a variety of ways.

“If people are interested in coaching, it’s a great, great thing to do,” Jordan said. “It’s not a hard thing. We would like to grow our volunteer numbers as well, if that’s through coaching or even sponsoring the league. But the most important thing is to get the message to people who might want to play.”

If a person, no matter the age as Jordan has players ranging from 5 to 47 years old signed up to play this year, wants to participate in this year’s Challenger League — either on the field or as a volunteer — there is still time to sign-up and get registered. However, Jordan is starting to put together teams now. If one does want to partake, they will need sign-up so by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.

Due to some changes with the overall league, the Challenger League is still trying to figure out when it will run this year. At the moment, Jordan said that the season will hopefully go from mid-April to the first part of June.

“It usually lasts about a month,” Jordan said. “That’s what we are shooting for.”

If anyone is interested in playing, coaching, or sponsoring a team, they can contact Jordan at her email — — or they can pick up a form at Southern Flair Candles in Vidalia.

“This is free to the players,” Jordan said. “This does not cost families anything for their individuals to play. All the costs are covered by our sponsors. It’s not a charge for them. It’s a great thing that the Vidalia Softball League does.”

“It doesn’t matter your age and doesn’t matter your disability. It’s about getting out and having a good time.”