Tag Archives: American Softball

Queens disabled softball team to play against blind Long Island team


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy American Softball

It’s not really about who wins or loses, it’s about the love of the game.

Queens-based American Softball, a league for developmentally challenged and handicapped adults, will play the Long Island Bombers, a blind and visually impaired softball team.

The meeting, on June 1 in Rockville Centre, will consist of noncompetitive games between the two leagues.

“This is about coming together and showing that there are opportunities for disabled players to have fun,” said Ted Fass, executive director of the Bombers. “For me, it’s just putting two groups together to have a fun day.”

Both teams have adjusted forms of the sport and will combine them for the games. The Bombers play beep baseball, which involves a larger, beeping softball, two four-foot tall buzzing bases and a set of alternate rules.

Pitchers can see and aren’t counted as players. Their job is to let the batters hit. After making contact, players run to either buzzing base and if they touch it before the ball is secured by a fielder, they score a run.

American softball on the other hand usually has volunteers assisting the players in everything from running to batting.

“Both teams have challenges, but one thing they love is softball,” said Randy Novick, founder of American Softball. “I think it’s a wonderful, different experience.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

American Softball for challenged adults ends season


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Randy Novick

 ZACHARY KRAEHLING

American Softball ended its season with a final game on Saturday, August 24 at Kissena Corridor Park in Flushing.

American Softball is devoted to offering handicapped and challenged adults with the opportunity to enjoy the game of softball.

In the final game players hit the ball, ran the bases and enjoyed the camaraderie of the sport. After the game, they enjoyed refreshments and then players received trophies.

“Our players are truly special and we are proud to give them all this opportunity to play the great American sport of softball,” said Randy Novick, who founded the league. “We look forward to providing a fun and rewarding experience for our players in the future.”

This year the league grew to 46 players and Novick plans for it to increase more in upcoming seasons.

“We hope to further expand membership in the league next year and in the future open additional locations in New York City and around the country,” he said.

 

 RECOMMENDED STORIES

American Softball starts second season helping developmentally disabled of Queens


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

Randy Novick asked which hand the player threw with.

He held up his left hand, which was already gripping a softball. Novick, patient and personable, found a glove that fit. As he adjusted it for the player’s hand, Novick recalled a visit to the man’s group home and how much he had enjoyed it.

It was just another Saturday as American Softball entered its second full season after Novick revived it last year. The league works with five group homes for mentally disabled people throughout Queens. There are about 50 players who all get a chance to hit, run the bases and play the field.

“The players are just happy to play because the rules are, there are no  rules,” he said. “It’s nice to get to see the players do something they normally wouldn’t do.”

This year, it was easier to get started for Novick. Last season, he had problems finding a field and getting funding.

He said he hopes the league can one day expand citywide or even across the country.

Novick, a Howard Beach resident, credited State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich for supporting his efforts. The organizer recruited coaches from counselors to childhood friends who wanted to lend a hand.

Addison John, a counselor at Services for the UnderServed, said clients normally start looking forward to the game by the middle of the week. Services for the UnderServed provides support for individuals with mental illness and other challenges.

“They love it,” John said. “As Friday comes, they’re ready to go.”

The coaches include Dore DeQuattro, a musician and lifelong friend of Novick’s. DeQuattro said he has enjoyed being able to give personal attention to the players. He added while his band regularly plays for the developmentally disabled, the league lets him get to work with individuals on a one-on-one basis.

“I just love these guys,” he said. “I love to give them a little extra personal attention.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

A league of their own: American Softball is all inclusive


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

Everybody hits. Everybody runs the bases. Everybody has fun.

This is how Randy Novick from Howard Beach describes American Softball.

Every Saturday throughout the summer, Novick, along with counselors and mentally challenged people from five assisted-living homes met at a field in Kissena Park to get a chance to play softball. Five homes currently comprise the league: Little Flowers, YAI Network, Bernard Feinstein, Lifespire, and Services for the Underserved.

“They’re having the time of their lives,” Novick said. “Whoever comes down, plays. This way everyone’s included.”

On August 25, the last day of this year’s season, Novick, counselors, the participants and their friends from home celebrated before taking the field. While eating pizza and hero sandwiches, they talked with each other and asked if they were coming back next year.

“They love it very much,” said Cecilia Hewitt, a counselor at Little Flowers. “All week, as long as the season is in, they look forward to it.”

The league was started in 1998 as Acheivers of America by a friend of Novick’s who had a son that was mentally challenged and entering his 20s. Because there were no leagues for older people, Novick said, the man started the league. The founder moved to Florida in 2010, however, and the league fell dormant.

For the last two years, Novick said he got a number of calls from counselors asking when or if softball would start up again.

Novick tried this year but requests to the Parks Department were not answered by March. Finally, he went to State Senator Joseph Addabbo asking for help. Addabbo was able to secure Novick a field that was enclosed and adjacent to a bathroom, which Novick and counselors said was the ideal location to play.

Addabbo said it was a pleasure for himself and his staff to help Novick with some of the work load to get the league running.

“It’s not easy to run a league, provide some sort of recreational activity, and work with the Parks Department, so it was our pleasure in providing a recreational activity for them,” he said.

Despite ranging from 15 to 45 players a game, Novick said he expects the league to grow next year — by getting an earlier start organizing it and branching out to more homes. He went on to say he would like to see it grow into a city or statewide organization.

“I want to expand this in all the boroughs and hopefully New York State,” he said. “You have Special Olympics once a year for a week, but other than that there’s no league like this.”