Baseball For The Blind Setting Foot on Dutch Soil

The title is not quite correct since it is baseball for the blind and visually impaired. But that is way too long for a title. Anyhow, about two-and-a-half weeks ago, an event that advocates the aforementioned baseball branch was organized in the Dutch Province of Limburg.

Since the Dutch Baseball Hangout had written about baseball for the blind and visually impaired before, yours truly thought it would be interesting to pay attention to the Dutch attempt to promote the sport.

The event was organized by Chantal Bos, a specialist in Kinesiology, the scientific study of the movement of the human body. Ever since she moved into this field of science, people with limited possibilities to move have caught her attention. After she finished her first study, she wanted to know more about this and did a minor (six months) in Zwolle, the Netherlands. But that wasn’t enough for Chantal as she entered the University of Leuven in Belgium for an International Academic Master Adapted Physical Activity, IMAPA (sports adapted for people with physical limitations). After her study, Chantal started to work as a regional consultant “Everyone Can Do Sports.” In this profession, she supports the target audience with all its questions about adapted sports and I guide them to a suitable sport. Questions like ” I don’t know where to practice sports,” “How can I get a special wheelchair suitable to practice sports,” “I have problems with getting transportation” end up with Chantal. By providing customization, she tries to solve all these questions, so everyone will get the opportunity to practice sports and to move. Furthermore, she supports organizations that provide sporting activities with the startup, strengthening, and broadening the offer for persons with limitations.

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Chantal knew that baseball for the blind and visually impaired was played already as she had seen a video on the subject before. Local baseball club HSV the Cheetahs from Beek in the Province of Limburg had made clear they had played the American version (beep ball) before. In Limburg and especially in the Southern part of that province, there are not many possibilities for visually impaired persons to practice sports. At first, the intention was to organize a promotional day for several kinds of sports that can be practiced by blind and visually impaired persons, like swimming, Judo, goalball, and baseball. The goal was to spark the interest of the target audience and to find a structural sport for everyone. For baseball, she approached the aforementioned baseball and softball club Cheetahs. The club was willing to help Chantal with the event. The following step for Chantal was to contact the KNBSB (Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation). The KNBSB helped her to contact the WBSC (World Baseball and Softball Confederation) and that organization helped her to contact the AIBXC (Italian Federation for Baseball for the visually impaired). The WBSC sponsored the event with materials like bases that produce sounds and balls with little bells in them. Next to contacting the WBSC, the KNBSB gave advice and donated a small amount of money to support the event.

The AIBXC proposed to send coaches to the Netherlands to teach the game to the local clubs and to introduce the game to blind and visually impaired persons. This was the deciding factor to organize a big event around baseball instead of a day with several other sports. This was the first time ever that baseball for the blind and visually impaired was played in the Netherlands. Chantal hopes that more clubs will follow so blind and visually impaired persons all over the country can play this beautiful game. According to Chantal, there was enough interest from other parts of the Netherlands as well. The event itself had nineteen participants. If baseball for the blind and visually impaired will get off the ground, it would be great to invite some AIBXC teams to come to play overhere.

Here is an impression of the day:

On the second of April, 2022, a new day will be organized. With enough participants, the intention is to offer the activity in a structural way on Monday nights or on the weekends. The day depends on the wishes and needs of the participants.

For more information, please go to: https://www.dehaamen.nl/activiteiten/honkbal-voor-mensen-met-een-visuele-beperking-02-04-2022/ or contact Chantal through the following e-mail address: chantal.bos@ecsplore.nl

I would like to thank Chantal Bos for answering my questions and for providing this much information.