Heart-Touching Challenger Little League Jamboree Shows All Kids Can Play Ball

Heart-Touching Challenger Little League Jamboree Shows All Kids Can Play Ball


“They’ll watch the game, and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.

“America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

— Terence Mann Character in “Field of Dreams”


After all the hype and hoopla of the Little League World Series this year, it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate our own Little League success story here in Kane County.

District 13 Little League will be hosting a very special event on Sept. 6, and as the Terence Mann character said in Field of Dreams, people will most definitely come to see some very special players.

The third Annual Challenger Jamboree will take place Sept. 6, 2014, at the Randall Oaks baseball facilities in West Dundee. Along the way, the Challenger program hopes to attract new players, volunteers, sponsors and a more widespread awareness of the program through this fun event.

Challenger is a division of Little League that is designed for mentally and/or physically challenged children allowing them to play organized baseball. The Challenger players are able to play on the same fields, wear the same uniforms, and use the same equipment as everyday Little League players. A buddy helps them through all aspects of play including hitting, fielding and batting.

The District 13 Challenger team had its own “Field of Dreams” moment when it competed in an exhibition game at the Little League World Series in 2013.

On Sept. 6, Challenger Jamboree participants will enjoy the camaraderie of team play, making new friends, and earn awards for their experience and accomplishments this year.

The Jamboree will feature baseball play and instruction, hay rides, crafts, games, face painting, a petting zoo, golf, a DJ with dancing, and much more. Baseball games will be played all day Sept. 6 with players ranging in age from 4 to 18. Food and drink will also be provided, as well as a corn roast donated by the Knights of Columbus.

More than 150 Challenger players and 150 buddies are expected to be in attendance as well as their families from six or more Little League-sanctioned Challenger Divisions throughout Northern Illinois.

District 13 Little League Challenger Divisions include kids from the Tri-Cities (Northern Kane County) Woodstock (McHenry County), Bartlett (Western Cook County), Lake Zurich (Western Lake County) and Libertyville (Northern Lake County).

Mark Johnson, District 13’s Challenger Representative, and former coach and board member of Tri Cities Little League said there really isn’t a better way to spend an afternoon.

“Challenger is a great program for everyone involved,” he said. “The buddies really enjoy spending time with the players as much as the players enjoy getting out there to play the game of baseball. It’s a win-win.”

District 13 Challenger Little League is accepting donations to help fund uniforms, trophies, prizes, food and tents. To donate, contact David Schillmoeller at Deschill3@gmail.com . For those willing to volunteer contact Jeff Anders at mljanders@sbcglobal.net.

Game Times

  • 9:30AM: Welcome/Check-In
  • 10:30AM – noon: Morning Games
  • noon – 1PM: Picnic
  • 1PM – 2:30PM: Afternoon Games


SOURCE: Challenger Little League press release