Kickball Classic Shows What Battle Creek Is All About
For the second straight year, the BCMAMS team is the champion of the annual Kickball Classic, as they beat Lakeview Ford in the finale. Event organizer Vince Pavone, of Lakeview Ford, said “It was our tenth and best year yet. We’re looking forward to ten more.”
Pavone started the Kickball Classic in partnership with Community Inclusive Recreation, also known as CIR, as an opportunity for people with physical and mental disabilities to compete on teams sponsored and staffed by area businesses and organizations.
CIR was formed in 1994 by Linda Linke, as a tribute to her brother-in-law Leonard, who had Down’s Syndrome. Leonard had come to live with Linda and her husband, and she was frustrated by the lack of recreational activities for people like Leonard in the Battle Creek Community. She went to the Battle Creek Community Foundation, and they helped her found Community Integrated Recreation. It was renamed Community Inclusive Recreation, and CIR is still going strong a quarter of a century later.
CIR believes that:
- Every person should be valued, respected, and accepted.
- Everyone has a gift to offer the community and deserves the right to fully participate.
- Separate is not equal. Including individuals with disabilities into the social and recreational life of our community has intrinsic value - for both the individual and the community at large.
- Each person deserves the right to choose the activities in which they wish to participate.
- The words "person-centered" are more than a good idea - they need to be the focal point of every interaction that we have with individuals who are seeking their voice and destiny.
The athletes on the fields at the Bailey Park Convis Softball Complex included wheelchair users, visually impaired and hearing-impaired players, players with autism, and those players who might have an intellectual or developmental disability.
To show just how inclusive the event is, even radio station people were welcome to participate. The WBCK/Townsquare Media team didn’t fare too well but had a lot of fun.
“We had a blast, and there were no major injuries,” said Mary Fork, Market President & Chief Revenue & Content Officer Townsquare Media Southwest Michigan. “Our CIR Allstars, Billy and Joseph were amazing players and a lot of fun.“
All proceeds will help support all programs and participants of CIR.
“It’s a proud day for Battle Creek remembering to include everybody in the community for a really fun time,” said Pavone.