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NBBA Newsletter Editor, Stephen Guerra
On behalf of the NBBA Officers and Board of Directors, we would like to extend holiday greetings to
all of the NBBA members, affiliate teams, individual members and their families.
We hope you enjoy the season.
To the NBBA membership:
With the completion of the 2011 national tournament, I would like to take a moment to thank
every one involved for all their tireless work and dedication.
This was my first chance to see a national tournament from the inside, and I was
continually amazed at how much needed to be accomplished in order to ensure a successful
tournament, and at how well issues were handled by everyone involved.
From the tournament committee and the city of Indianapolis, to the Lions clubs and other
volunteers, to the on field officials, to the hotel staff and concession stand operators,
the level of dedication and professionalism was outstanding.
You all have my personal thanks and gratitude. Most of all, I'd like to thank the NBBA teams, all of you, for giving your time, your
energy, and your money, to make this organization a part of your lives for yet another
As we turn our thoughts toward 2012, I would like to mention a few things that have come
to my mind over the past year:
First, keep the ideas coming! We had quite a few new rule and by-law submissions this
year, dealing with specific issues of interest to the NBBA membership at large. New ideas
keep us fresh, keep us thinking forward, and trying to handle a constantly changing
If you have an idea: talk to a board member, familiarize yourself with how things are currently done, write down your thoughts, and submit them for consideration.
Remember, the NBBA is only as good as its members can make it.
Second, help us find more officials. Our head umpire, Kenny Bailey has repeatedly
reminded me that the league needs more on field officials. This is not meant as any disrespect to
our current officials--some of the finest to ever step on a beep baseball field.
The truth is simple: as we expand we have more teams, that means more games, and that means more officials are required.
Also, sadly, as we get older, replacements will someday be needed for our current core of
So, that being said, keep a lookout for anyone who might be interested in joining our list of national tournament officials. Perhaps someone who has worked as a local tournament official, a retiring team manager or retiring pitcher. All entries will be seriously considered by the first Vice President and the Tournament Committee.
Third, the team grant program is coming.
In an effort to assist our member teams, the NBBA is starting a grant program in 2012. In essence, it will consist of several $1000 grants, available through a lottery-based award system.
The money is available through the generosity of the Nubson Family Trust, whose
administration is in the process of being turned over to the NBBA.
For decades, our teams have been giving money to support the organization, dues, tournament registrations, etc.
I am extremely pleased that the organization is entering a phase where it can offer some support in return.
Check for more information on the NBBA website after the first of the year for more details.
Finally, comments are always welcome.
As I mentioned last year, I want to be as accessible as possible to all of you. If you have an issue that is important to you, let me know about it.
Sometimes the NBBA decision making process can seem a bit on the opaque side, especially if you are not directly connected to it, so ask questions!
I want all decisions that directly affect teams to be very transparent to everyone, and if there are things we can do to improve our information distribution process, speak up.
The email to get to me is: President@nbba.org
In closing let me thank everyone once again for all your support.
We only have one NBBA president, one NBBA board, but we have over 350 NBBA members Ė therein lies our strength.
As we turn toward our next 36 years, keep it clear in your mind that this is your game, your league.
Each and every one of you is an important part of this amazing experience we call Beep Baseball.
Beep Kickball: A Newfound Love of Sports
Freshly cut grass, the teacherís piercing whistle, lining up behind friends and waiting
for your chance to kick the ball and run the bases before youíre tagged out. If you grew up
in the United States, kickball is likely one of the only sports all the kids in your class
uniformly enjoyed. The skills are simple to pick up, and almost guaranteed to be a fun,
friendly-yet-competitive workout that everyone in class can enjoy.
Except for the the visually impaired. As children, they often found themselves spending
recess in more sedentary pursuits, on the sidelines listening in. Even sports adapted for
blind people were considered too rough and tumble for some parents to allow
Not only did these children miss out on the chance to develop a love of
sports, but they lost out on the health benefits and sense of confidence that comes with
playing sports at a young age.
Enter Beep Kickball
Imagine a beep baseball game without a pitcher, catcher and baseball bat. There is no beeping baseball but there is a 10-inch soft foam beeping kickball. Welcome to a beep kickball game!
Instead of hitting the ball with a bat, just kick the ball via a place kick, running
place kick or drop kick. Then run to tag the base, just like in baseball. And field the
ball, just like in baseball. Three outs, 6 innings, game over.
Beep Kickball is the newest sport for the visually impaired that has allowed not only a
whole younger generation of children to learn the power and confidence that comes with
playing a sport, but adults as well, no matter what age.
A Long History of Sports for the Visually Impaired
The history of sports adapted for the visually impaired stretches all the way back to World War II.
The first sport for the blind, Goalball, began in Europe in 1946 as rehabilitation for blinded war vets. Played with a basketball sized ball with bells inside, the three players on each team compete to throw the ball past defenders into a soccer style goal. Defenders counter, usually falling into a graceful arms-and-legs-outstretched dive known as the Superman in order to defend the most goal territory. To this day, Goalball is the only sport of the vision impaired played in the Paralympics.
After Goalball came Beep Baseball. Beep Baseball was invented in 1964 at the request of
the principal of the Colorado Springs School for the Blind. Originally played with a
modified softball, Beep Baseball is now played with an oversized beeping softball and two
buzzing bases, much like its new successor Beep Kickball.
However, the rules in 1964 were so restrictive that the players lost interest in the game
due to boredom. In 1971 the rules were rewritten to be less restrictive and more
challenging and the sport grew quickly in the United States.
Governed by the National Beep Baseball Association, this highly competitive sport now features teams from all over the world and hosts a popular world series every year.
Beep Kickball: The All Purpose Adapted Sport
Beep Kickball, invented by Judy Byrd in 2010, is only the latest incarnation in a long tradition, but itís already taking the world by storm for one simple reason Ė its appeal to all ages. And unlike Goalball and Beep Baseball, younger children are safe to play. Judy realized the skills are so easy to master that players can just jump right into the fun of playing without drills and practice. Players donít have to be young and fit athletes to play because hitting the ground to stop the ball and tackling the base is optional. On the other hand, players also have the opportunity to compete, making the game one of serious strategy, aggressive defense and plenty of rough and tumble.
Beep Kickball was invented with children in mind after Judy Byrd, manager of the Atlanta
Beep Baseball team, realized that younger visually impaired children had nowhere to turn to
experience a love of sports. "For weeks, I watched older teens and adults feel the
exhilaration of running, some for the first time. I saw them dive to the ground to field a
ball, loving the rough and tumble of beep baseball. I saw them learn to swing a bat when
never having watched a baseball game. And I asked myself ĎWhat can visually impaired kids
play that doesnít require the same skills and rough and tumble of beep baseball but shares
the same exhilaration and joy of sports?í Then it came to me: same rules, different
So I bought a beeping soccer ball, redesigned and rebuilt it every time it broke, and through a yearlong collaborative effort, offered the first beep kickball for sale last month."
Last summer, in an attempt to test the ball and the game, kids played Beep Kickball
throughout the U.S. at several Camp Abilities, the renowned sports camps for visually
Kathy Zwald of Camp Abilities in Tucson explains how Beep Kickball benefits children.
"Itís fun," says Zwald. "It develops agility and motor skills; it encourages kids to feel good about their movement; and, it promotes exercise, builds confidence, and creates avenues to build teamwork and social networks!"
Now Byrd aims to bring Beep Kickball to children across the United States through schools
and camps for the blind, and her dream is already growing wings here in the home state of
Georgia. The first official Beep Kickball team, the Atlanta Blackhawks, was formed with high
school coeds in October 2011. To serve as competition, the South Carolina School for the
Deaf and Blind also formed a team. In January 2012, they will be joined by a team fielded by
the Georgia Academy for the Blind and two regional teams out of Northwest and Northeast
Atlanta. And the Atlanta Beep Baseball Team will be playing beep kickball for fun between
Byrd credits the explosive growth of Beep Kickball to two factors: the relatively low
cost of the sport and the fact that lots of visually impaired people are hungry for a sport
of their own.
Byrd told this story:
"When visiting the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta, I was talking to a staff member, a visually impaired woman about my age (61). She said ĎI wish I had played sports when I was a child.í And my comeback was ĎThatís the exact reason Iím doing this! And, by the way, itís never too late.í Thatís when the idea of a recreational company team came to mind. After all, many of the staff members of CVI are visually impaired. "
And when it comes to cost, Beep Kickball is nearly as budget-friendly as its playground
namesake. The only equipment needed is the ball, two buzzers in a box (or a set of beep
baseball bases) and 12 blindfolds.
A starter package is available for $195 through www.beepkickball.com
Because itís modeled on such a familiar pastime, even the volunteers who serve as
spotters, safeties and umpires need minimal training. Perhaps the hardest aspect of training
is learning to be quiet so the players can hear the beeping and buzzing.
Enter the Georgia Blind Sports Association
In order to encourage more adapted sports, Hal Simpson, a ten year veteran of coaching
goalball, recently formed the Georgia Blind Sports Association, whose purpose is to
introduce recreational and competitive sports for the visually impaired all over
Simpson says "I got into coaching goalball by default. My son is blind. Heís
now in college but still loves the competition of goalball. After being on the team that
won the 2011 U.S. Menís Goalball Nationals, his goal is to compete in future Paralympic
My goal through GBSA is to help visually impaired all over Georgia discover their athletic potential." With catalysts like Judy Byrd starting new Beep Kickball teams and Roger Keeney starting new Beep Baseball teams, Georgia is on track to become an example to the whole country when it comes to blind sports.
Contact Hal Simpson at:
or by phone at: (770) 833-2061
or Judy Byrd at:
or by phone at: (770) 317-2035
For more information on GBSA or beep kickball.
The Christmas packages are not even wrapped yet, but it is time for you to think in the back of your mind, the idea of registering your team for the 2012 season.
Save the date: March 1, 2012, the deadline date for submitting your requested team name,
(name you have used previously and is not already in use) plus your $25 Team name fee.
To be directed to the page on the NBBA web site where you can download and read the different forms and dates you need to keep in mind:
Registering your team with the NBBA for the 2012 season
The Beyond Blind Institute contacted the NBBA to take part in a charitable event where Beep Baseball would be played against members of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
The details of the event are still being negotiated, but more details will follow in future issues of the NBBA Newsletter.
Diane Ruiz, long time NBBA volunteer and Cleveland Scrapper was laid to rest after losing her fight from several ailments on Wednesday, November, 16, 2011. Her family has requested that donations be made in her name to juvenile Diabetes, Kidney foundation or the Cleveland Sight Center.
Keep Diane and her constant willingness to serve in any role at the World Series and her family in your thoughts and Prayers.
The list of the NBBA Officers and Board of Directors below is for the 2011-2012 calendar year. Not all members will have a phone number displayed, but an email address where they can be contacted will be available.
President, Dan Greene
Mobile: (520) 440-6048
1st VP, Jan Traphagan
Mobile: (248) 910-6166
2nd VP, Kevin Barrett
Home: (440) 779-1025
Secretary, Stephen guerra
Mobile: (507) 208-8383
Treasurer, John Lykowski
Immediate Past President, David Smolka
Head Umpire, Kenny Bailey
By-Laws: ByLaws Chair, David Smolka
Mobile: (708) 927-6771
Equipment: Equipment Chair: Wayne Sibson
Mobile: (512) 659-3908
Nominations: Nominations Chair: Darnell Booker
Mobile: (317) 370-7231
Rules: Rules Chair: janet Leonard
Mobile: (303) 332-8444
Board of Directors:
James Gong on behalf of CK Wang
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Click here to read the NBBA newsletter; December, 2011 edition
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