A room of more than one hundred people sit in silence, smiles painted on their faces, as they wait for six year old Challenger Little Leaguer Parker Wall to introduce a slideshow of highlights of their league.
Also smiling, Parker looks at his parents for help, then says, "Welcome...to the Challengers of baseball!" Applause erupts from the room, and Parker's smiles gets bigger, reveling in all of the appreciation. His favorite baseball player is Derek Jeter, and much like the Yankee ballplayer, Parker takes his role as a spokesman for the Challenger Baseball League seriously. He is known for shouting during the games, "try your best, and you'll succeed."
At a Challenger Baseball League game, a league specifically for kids with special needs, Parker's teammates play with those words of motivation in mind, all doing their best, simply because they can.
"He would tell me, actually he would tell everybody," Parker's mother,Tracy says. "He wanted to hit a foul ball. When we'd ask him why he wanted to hit a foul ball, he said it was because he got to hit again."
Tracy Wall says she has seen her child grow since his first game in the league, as it has motivated Parker beyond any doctor's diagnosis. He has cerebral palsy and uses a walker, but Parker wants to walk by himself to first base next season, without the use of his walker.
Parker's father, Patrick Wall, says watching not only Parker, but the rest of the kids with special needs play, brings tears to his eye.
"I cried more, because it's just, tears of joy, because it's watching somebody just try so hard, and have so much fun doing it," Patrick Wall says.
About 220 kids between the ages of 5 to 21 play in the Challenger Little League, and this evening at Doubletree hotel, Parker was on stage as a part of a presentation to the community in the hopes of funding a new recreation center. Challenger calls it their "Field of Dreams."
Currently, Challenger Little League does not have a home, often using fields after Little League is over, later on in the summer. Dom Cambareri, Challenger Little League President, says they need a space of their own, not only so they can avoid hot summer days, but also so the league can grow, as it has nearly tripled in size since 2004.
"We are growing at such a rapid rate, that if the complex is built, we will end up being the largest Challenger baseball program in the country," Cambareri says.
Backed by the Town of Dewitt and with a multitude of support, Challenger is trying now to fund their efforts for the complex which they say will also provide use for the community as a whole as well. Those in attendance Wednesday night received packets with sponsorship cards and donation envelopes.
While the information in the envelopes was helpful, the slideshow and appearance by the Challenger Little Leaguers brought tears, spurring some to hand in envelopes with donations before the presentation ended.
At the end of the presentation, Parker clapped with more spirit than anyone, his show a support just a glimpse of his actions on the baseball field.