(WBIR-Alcoa) A middle school softball game Thursday will of course feature talented athletes in a competitive game but that's not all. The Alcoa versus Union Grove game will also raise awareness about Autism.
Here come the Lady Tornadoes on the field. Take the field," Carl Chen said in his best announcer voice.
Those words will be his first announcement at the softball game he will be calling Thursday. He's a teenager who goes by the name Carl Chen.
"Carl Chen since the 7th grade. Why did you change it? Because it looks cool to me. Chen is kind of like a Chinese word or name or something," he said.
His mother, Robin Spears, explained. "His real name is actually Harrison Michael Spears. He liked Carl Crawford who was a baseball player so he changed his name to Carl. And he has a new middle name Lamarco I don't know where that came from. And Chen just because he loves anything Asian or having to do with Asia."
She said he's played baseball before and called games before. But the game at Alcoa Middle School is special because it is an Autism Awareness Softball Game. Carl is on the spectrum for Autism, closer to Asperger syndrome.
"I think one of the things in our family we've strived for him is to be able to interact with people in a social situation because that was one of the hardest things he had was learning social cues," she said.
The game's theme is Strike Out Autism. Extras will include a silent auction, raffle, and t-shirt sales. Proceeds will go to the East Tennessee Autism Society.
"A child with Autism, when you've met one you've met one. There is no mold. And I hope that they see that even though you have Autism or some type of developmental disability It can't stop you. You can still strive for what you want to be. He wants to be an announcer. He's announcing," she said.
Carl demonstrated some of his calls for home runs, strike outs, and even a brawl on the field. He's prepared for his role at the game.
"It's an interesting thing for me and it's a little bit of confidence about how I feel up in the press box. And I just feel pretty good about that," he said.
It should be a good game for a good cause.
"Come see me at the game. Come see me at the game everybody," he said.
His closing words for the game?
"I am Carl Chen. I will see you next time."
The Lady Vols plan to attend the Autism Awareness Softball Game.
It is set for Thursday at Alcoa Middle School at 5:30.