Two teams. Simple rules. Big fun.
Welcome to Monday night kickball with an attitude at Badgett Sports Complex.
That's where an inclusive kickball league brings together typical teens and kids with Down syndrome.
It's play with a purpose.
"People with Down syndrome have low muscle tone. Typically they are born with low muscle tone and they have low muscle tone through out their life," Kelly Johnson said. Her daughter, Sloan Brickey, was born with Down syndrome.
Kelly sees this as a way to help kids and teens with Down syndrome build muscle tone and cardio.
"And they don't really realize they are working on it which is the fun thing about it," she said.
The kickball team is inclusive. About half the players have Down syndrome and other kids and the coaches don't.
Trey Evans explained how he became a strong player.
"My dad taught me some stuff. My dad, I am proud of him because I love him. Because my daddy works hard," Trey said.
The outfield and the kicking team swap sides every ten minutes for an hour.
"It's just a fun thing. It's not a guy or a girl or special needs or typical. It's just cool across the board," she said.
One of the cool kids who shows up every Monday is Jake Majors. He's a basketball player at Powell High School. That's where Sloan goes to school too.
"That's my best friend," Jake said. "She's taught me a lot myself how to enjoy the little things and to be happy with everything."
Sloan's mom, Kelly, is happy with the progress she's seen.
"Sloan doesn't see this as a task her mom is making her do. Sloan sees this as hanging out with her friends, both her friends with special needs and her typical developing friends. So it is fun," she said.
It started out informally this spring but now the kickball league has official shirts and the kids came up with a name: Our Love for You or in the text or hashtag version: RL4U. It's evolving into a special needs sports league.
Kickball was going to wrap up mid-May but now they are going to continue it indefinitely and they are already looking at other sports like Wiffle Ball.
"Something we can build upon. We may change it up and then go back to kickball and just move it around. But something that will keep their interest and keep them moving," Kelly said.
It keeps them connected to other kids and it's an opportunity for everyone to make friends.
"You learn a lot from them. How to be happy and enjoy life," Jake said.
Trey said, "It's awesome. It has good food."
RL4U is a place where nobody keeps score and everybody wins.
They play Monday nights at Badgett Sports Complex. Kickball starts at six and you are welcome to come cheer them on or play.
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