The summer is nearing its end, yet the magical memories created on the field at ‘Kraft’ this past season, linger on in the hearts of FC Jerusalem’s Buddy Baseball players.
Yarden Gerbi, gold medal winner of the international Judoka championship, was special guest at Friendship Circle, Central Jerusalem’s third annual ‘All-Star Buddy Baseball Game.’ One hundred children with special needs, from those in wheelchairs, to those with sight impairments, to those with various physical and mental challenges were treated to friendship, joy, and sport. They cheered as Yarden spoke.
“This is a day where we celebrate all abilities and everybody shines. It is my great honor to be here. You are all so special to me, that I have brought a gift for each of one of you to take home; a piece of me!” She had brought over 200 puzzle games made up of her winning photo at the Olympics.
After Yarden Gerbi threw the first pitch, Or Chaim, of the Keren Or school, opened the game and brought tears to the eyes of all as he sang “Yerushalayim shel zahav”, accompanied by his FC buddy on the keyboard.
Coach Dean Klassman and his wife Leslie flew in from Chicago to direct the game for the third year in the row. With endless energy and a contagious smile, Dean welcomed old friends and new with his enthusiastic cry of, “Let’s play ball!”
Each player had his/her moment to step up to base and hit that ball, the glory of recognition shining on their faces. Then, whether running alone, with a buddy or flying on wheels, the crowd cheered each and every player around the bases. Feasting on pizza and ices at the end of the game, the camaraderie and joy of inclusion was felt in the field.
The volunteers from various schools, Mayanot and others, invested time and energy to make every child feel involved and befriended, not just at the game, but throughout the year! It is these miracle workers, who keep FC Jerusalem’s wheels constantly on the go.
On that warm Jerusalem evening, all reached the stars.