The Atlanta Eclipse Beep Baseball Team Photo
In March of 2010, the first practice of the Atlanta Eclipse Beep Baseball Team took place with about 15 players and 8 volunteers, most of whom knew little to nothing about beep baseball. We all joke about it today, recalling that it was definitely the blind leading the blind!
Beep baseball is an adapted sport for people who are visually impaired or blind and was created in the mid-sixties for the Colorado School for the Blind. Beep baseball is played with an oversized softball that BEEPS and two bases, first and third, that BUZZ. There are 6 players on a team and all wear blindfolds to equalize their vision. The pitcher, who is sighted, is on the same team as the batter. There is no throwing the ball and no running around all the bases. Simply explained, the batter hits the ball and runs to the base which buzzes and tags it. If he gets there before a fielder picks up the ball, he scores a run. If not, he is out. Three outs, six innings, game over!
Beep baseball has been around for decades and culminates every August in a world series. Now two and a half years later, seven Eclipse players just returned from playing on other teams at the 2012 World Series in Ames, Iowa. The best description of going to the World Series is "It's just like a big family reunion!” Every year since 1976, teams have reunited to compete for the title of the best beep baseball team in the world. This year, there were 199 players and over 150 volunteers; with the majority of our core group of volunteers still committing to the team most Saturday mornings during the fall and spring. Why? Because they're hooked on the benefits, one of which is camaraderie. Although playing beep baseball is definitely about getting exercise, learning a skill and having fun; it's also about developing agility, becoming more independent and realizing "If I can do this, I can do anything!"
After being together for over a year, the coed players ranging in age from 18 to 65, decided to take charge of everything, dividing themselves into three committees- fundraising, socializing and travel. Leaders emerged to take charge of all the meals during games and travel arrangements when playing teams out of town. And besides the players being in charge of seeking out monetary support from groups such as the AT&T Pioneers, they worked hard, putting their own efforts into two fundraisers- selling Braves tickets and selling hotdogs at a local Kroger. The fruits of this labor went to Iowa expenses for some and will go to future World Series expenses for others. And the most exciting news about next year is that the World Series will be held in our own backyard; Columbus, Georgia! So if you would like to join us as a player or a volunteer and go to the 2013 World Series, we would love to have you! Our practices are at Coan Recreation Center and starts mid-September.
To see videos and learn more about how beep baseball is played, go to our Facebook Page- Atlanta Beep Baseball. You can also go to the website for the National Beep Baseball Association at www.nbba.org. If you would like to help us keep this sport and worthwhile organization alive, contact me at 770-317-2035 or by e-mail at JudyByrd@gmail.com.