Buddy Baseball All-Stars shine bright in the capital – Israel News

Buddy Baseball All-Stars shine bright in the capital

ISRAELI OLYMPIC judoka Ori Sasson (right) takes an active part in the annual Friendship Circle Buddy Baseball All-Star Game on Wednesday night at Keshet Stadium in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: SHIMMY KUTNER)

Wednesday night in Jerusalem’s Keshet Stadium found a field alive with excitement as 130 children with special needs, along with their “buddies” and cadre of cheerleaders, turned out for the annual edition of the Buddy Baseball All-Star Game.

Organized by The Friendship Circle, Buddy Baseball just completed its fourth season and Wednesday marked the pinnacle of what has become a special staple in the capital and a highly anticipated event throughout the year.

The opportunity to play sports, and the relationships and unique friendships built between the young special-needs athletes and their able-bodied buddies, is a remarkable and moving experience that brings smiles to all involved.

Israel’s Olympic medalist in judo Ori Sasson was on hand and actively participated in coaching the children and helping them bat and run the bases.

“An event like this evening highlights the fact that we are all champions,” said a visibly emotional Sasson.

Hand-made signs were created for each player and were held up by the crowd when they stepped to the plate and ran exuberantly around the bases.

One especially poignant moment was when one of the young players, who has been wheelchair-bound for a number of years and who typically is rolled around the bases, decided that he wanted to rise from his chair and run the bases on his feet. There was not a dry eye in the house as his buddy, who has been lovingly and patiently practicing with him, helped him take his first steps and successfully score a run.

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The joy and the camaraderie exhibited by the players and volunteers was palpable and was a fitting celebration of a season that created many magical memories for the children and their families while building lasting connections through the unifying power of sports.

For more information about Buddy Baseball and The Friendship Circle, and to volunteer, please visit www.fcjerusalem.org

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