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Marci Dickerson was driving home from an out-of-town funeral last week when she overheard her sister’s telephone conversation about how upset her son was about not being able to play baseball anymore.
When the call ended, Dickerson asked, “Why can’t Brice play baseball?”
The answer: Because he just turned 8, and that means he can’t play T-ball anymore, and there are no leagues for developmentally delayed kids.
By the time Dickerson got home, she had a plan. She called a special meeting of the board of directors of Revolution 120, the local charity she started last year. She laid out the problem, as well as her proposed solution, and the board gave her a green light to proceed.
Dickerson’s next call was to the Las Cruces Youth Baseball League to ask whether a new group of kids could play under their organizational umbrella, with use of the fields and game officials already under contract. The answer was yes.
The result is the rapidly forming Warrior League, which will welcome youths aged 8 and up regardless of physical or developmental disabilities.
“Every kid should have the opportunity to suit up and play, and every parent should have the opportunity to sit in the stands and root for their kid,” Dickerson said. “We’re going to make this happen.”
The original goal, she said was to begin sign-ups on March 21 and continue through April 1, then start games as early as April 13, running through the end of June. Those plans are on hold in the wake of large-event cancellations and postponements related to Covid-19, the Coronavirus, Dickerson said.
“It’s frustrating to have to wait, but safety and caution come first. We will implement this league when the time is right, and when we do, we’ll adjust the rules to emphasize inclusivity,” Dickerson said. “If a kid wants to play, and their parents want them to play, they can play.”
Although there will be dues associated with membership in the league, Dickerson said scholarships will be available based on need, and she said the idea is to turn no child away. She also said each team will be structured for diversity, so that there are no obviously dominant teams.
“We want it to feel legitimately competitive for these kids,” she said. “It’s about suiting up and having fun out there.”
From mechanical devices that will assist players at bat who have limited upper-body strength to “helpers” who can assist players in the field at any position on offense or defense, the league will be designed to find ways to get every child involved at whatever level works for them, she said.
And if the baseball league goes well, a basketball league will follow in the fall, she said.
To sign up or learn more about The Warrior League, send a text to 575-644-0778, and a representative will be in touch.