With tambourines and honking bases, baseball unites kids with sight loss
Published Friday, July 14, 2017 10:34PM EDT
A group of blind and partially-sighted children was given the chance to play baseball for the first time in Toronto this week in a game designed just for them.
Audio cues were used to give the young players a clear sense of the ballpark. A beeping baseball let the batter know where to swing, and different bases honked or rattled with a tambourine to guide them where to run.
For kids like nine-year-old Yasnah Persah, the little modifications went a long way in making the game not just playable, but fun.
“The ball was there and I whacked it!” she told CTV News.
The special event was orchestrated by an all-girls baseball league in Toronto, a group that organizer Dana Bookman said can go overlooked itself within the sports community.
"Girls can play baseball, visually impaired people can play baseball. If you want to do something, you can do it,” said Bookman, who started the all-girls league.
The group teamed up with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to make the game come to fruition for the kids, all members of a camp for visually impaired youth.
“It is amazing. This is a really great opportunity for these kids,” said Rhonda Underhill-Gray from Beyond the Classroom, a program for students with sight loss.
Nayeh Tai Hair has a rare disease called Alstrom syndrome that limits her ability to see. That didn’t prevent her from getting on the field.
“I like hitting the ball!” she said.
William Chang, 13, knows all about baseball from listening to the Toronto Blue Jays on the radio.
"And it was so fun -- but I want to do it too," he said.
After the game, each player was given their own baseball with two words engraved in brail: batter up.
With a report from CTV’s John Vennavally-Rao