Saturday, June 24, 2006

Blind Softball (a.k.a Beep Ball)

I just came back from an amazing event over at the Hofstra campus on Long Island. The event was a tournament of 4 teams, all of whose players are legally blind, playing a modified version of softball called "Beep Ball". One of my fraternity brothers from Hofstra is the coach of a team from Boston and the other teams drove to New York from as far away as Chicago to play! The monsoon-like conditions did not stop these fine individuals and the game is incredible to behold. The way it works, basically, is that the pitcher (who is on the batter's team) announces when the ball is coming in. The ball, which looks like an oversized softball, emits a constant loud beeping sound which enables the batter to get a fix on it. When the ball is put into play, the fielders must find the ball and hold it up before the batter can run to the "base". The bases themselves are just cushion pylons placed along the 1st and 3rd base lines about 100 feet away. The pylons also emit a beeping sound so the player will know where the pylon is and which pylon to run to. If the batter can touch the pylon before the fielders can possess the ball and hold it up, a "run" is scored.
It's fascinating to see these guys get themselves so worked up and display such motivation over a sport which is entirely their own. It's even more fascinating, and inspiring, to see my old fraternity brother and his sighted colleagues show the passion and intensity which the sport requires. There was supposed to be a news segment about it tonight which my our league member Jon Reigel is taping. If he managed to get the segment on tape, I'll try to digitize it and put it online. If you're interested in reading more about the sport (which is played worldwide), go to

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