Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Times on the Softball Field!


6/25/13
It's often asked "How does that work?!" when a TarWheels member shares that they play softball with an AB (the term of endearment given by many disabled persons to an able bodied person). Well, there are many similarities, with a few exceptions to that of stand-up ball. There's still the positions most are used to seeing in baseball, there is a fourth outfielder and also a line in the outfield marking how far out the outfielders have to start out at when the pitch is made. Also, the infielders are limited to how far out they may start, they must have at least one wheel on the "dirt". The most obvious difference though is that the "dirt" isn't dirt at all, nor is there any grass to be seen on the field of play. The new trend across America in making the world accessible is what is often referred to as a Miracle League Field. These fields are paved in a rubber material, they are a bit shorter, and other than the outfielders line previously mentioned, the other thing you'll see is that the bases are much larger than a traditional field. The game is played with a starting count of 1 ball, 1 strike, and a foul tip on the strike three means "You're out!" A good solid hit though, and you better get over the tire stops and out of the batter's box in a hurry! It's not uncommon for a batter to be thrown out at 1st base from left field! Many players will use stops on their wheels giving them a better plant to the ground, thus the ability to transfer more energy into the swing and contact with the ball. From there, things are pretty much like that for the AB's, you try and make smart decisions while rounding the bases, taking advantage of the super-sized bases which accommodate wheels as opposed to feet, and keep an eye on your coaches! Steals are even legal now in wheelchair softball as long as you tag up. A couple other items make things fair so that difference in disabilities are accounted for, but at the end of the game, the team with the most runs wins!

The TarWheels were put in the position to have the most runs on a couple occasions over the weekend! Two wins and two losses made for a fun weekend in Mauldin, SC! Sure there was the aggravation of trying to figure out how a hotel with no elevator would book a wheelchair softball team on the second floor!?! Once we finally found a hotel with 1st floor rooms available, relaxation set in and the TarWheels' softball team shared the stories of how to better their performance on day two. Softball may be back seat to basketball in the TarWheels Organization, but the competitiveness found can be seen in every sport the TarWheels take on!

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