A softball tournament was held at Earl Warren Middle School recently with monster hits and close plays but no one was keeping score —the players were having too much fun to worry about winning or losing. The students were playing ball in the Adapted PE Softball Tournament and laughing, smiling and even dancing on the baseline was much more important than runs batted in.
Teams from the Adapted PE classes from Torrey Pines High School, Carmel Valley Middle School, Earl Warren Middle School and Oak Crest Middle School played in the sun-drenched three-hour tournament. Organized by adapted PE teacher Kasey Galik, the San Dieguito Union High School District teacher of the year, the Adapted PE Tournament allows students with physical or mental challenges to compete just like their regular education PE counterparts.
They all hit, ran the bases and fielded balls. Students played around on the bench, had heated Red Sox vs. Yankees discussions, cheered for their teammates and ran through a tunnel of proud peers to be awarded with tournament medals.
Former students of Galik's served as pitchers and coaches. Now a college student who competes in wheelchair basketball league, one challenged athlete was like a hero to some of the students. The children kept coming up to him for high fives or just to talk and he happily obliged.
"It's a very inspirational moment," Galik said. "To have challenged athletes here assisting current students makes for a great event for kids to be inspired and work together despite everyone's differences."
Students in Earl Warren's regular education PE class helped out as base-running coaches and formed a cheering section behind the backstop.
"I like that I can help out kids and see them play and run around and have fun like everyone else can," said Madison Bambrick, a seventh-grader at Earl Warren working the first base line.
She encouraged players to round first for second when they got a big hit.
Someone who needed no help rounding the bases was 17-year-old Torrey Pines student Kevin Bath, who hit a blast to left-center.
"I like hitting home runs," said Bath, who also plays with the Miracle League at San Dieguito Park.