WHAT IS CHALLENGER BASEBALL?
San Francisco Little League's Challenger Division provides an opportunity for any boy or girl over five years old (as of January 1, 2019) with a disability, physical or cognitive, to join a baseball team, get some exercise, and learn some baseball skills with other kids in an informal, supportive environment. We invite your child or children you know to join our teams. In addition to our three teams for younger kids, in 2019 SFLL will again also include a Challenger team oriented specifically to older teens and young adults.
The Challenger Little League baseball season runs from mid-March to mid-June, and includes about ten games on Sunday afternoons. San Francisco’s teams (called the Giants, of course) begin their season with a motorcade parade for all the City’s Little League teams from the Presidio through the Marina District, followed by an Opening Day ceremony and barbecue. Home games are played at either China Basin Park across "McCovey Cove" from AT&T Park, at Little League’s fields on Treasure Island, or at McCoppin Square Park at 22nd Ave. and Santiago. Home games are interspersed with away games with Challenger teams in Marin or on the Peninsula. (I can provide you contact information for these other teams in South San Francisco, Foster City, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, San Jose, etc.)
Kids learn the basics of baseball, and how to play as part of a team. However, games are non-competitive, with full participation by all. Every player takes a turn at bat every inning, and always gets on base and gets to advance around the bases. There are no outs, no one keeps score, and everyone has a great time for one to two hours, once a week on Sunday afternoons. Parents and coaches and occasionally players from Little League’s other programs provide support and as much (or little) assistance as each player wants or needs to participate to the best of their ability and enjoy the game. San Francisco Little League provides each player a uniform similar to those of other Little League teams. Most importantly—everyone has a great time!
We also offer a number of supplemental events, such as group attendance at Giants games, and an end-of-season June "Jamboree" with the other Bay Area teams we play. Most years, the San Francisco Giants have graciously also invited our kids to attend a "clinic" hosted by members of the Giants' team, always a highlight.
Here's what else you need to know:
Little League’s Challenger Division was founded in 1989 and includes over 22,000 players nationally.
San Francisco Little League is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization that depends on fees and contributions to cover expenses. But while fees are requested to defray costs, waivers are offered and no one will be denied the opportunity to play. The fee for Challenger Division registration is $100 (less than for other Little League divisions). The final date for Challenger registration is March 1, 2019, however, to help us plan for the Spring, we ask parents and caregivers to please register as early as possible, preferably before January 1, 2019. Please note that early registration will also ensure that your child is able to participate in case available spaces on teams fill up this year!
As we said before, we want you to play ball with us regardless of economic circumstances. The online SFLL application form includes a menu option to request a fee waiver due to economic hardship, and offers options to pay a reduced fee--or to request a 100% fee waiver. You will also be asked to provide a short statement online supporting your fee waiver request. (A request such as "Please waive my registration fees as they would be a hardship" will suffice.)
If you know additional families who may be interested in Challenger baseball in the Spring, please send me their names or have them contact me. You can also refer them to this page on the SFLL website at www.sfll.org/challenger.
For more information about the San Francisco Challenger Baseball program, contact:
Challenger Program Director
To learn more about Little League in general and Challenger baseball in particular, check out the Little League International website (Challenger Division, under Special Programs or Divisions).
Let's play ball!
SPRING 2019 CHALLENGER BASEBALL REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN.
Our League is always looking for good coaches. We hope to confirm coaches as soon as possible so please get those applications in now.