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 Home > News & Policies > July 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 11, 2004

Fact Sheet: White House South Lawn Tee Ball

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White House South Lawn Tee Ball
July 11, 2004 -- 4:00 p.m.

Challenger Phillies of M.O.T. Little League
Middletown, Delaware

vs.

Challenger Yankees of Lancaster County Little Leagues
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Program Participants

Former Major League pitcher Jim Abbott congratulates a player from the Challenger Phillies from Middletown, Delaware at Tee Ball on the South Lawn at the White House on Sunday July 11, 2004.  White House photo by Paul MorseTee Ball Commissioner: Cal Ripken, Jr.
Play-by-Play Announcer: Matt Winer, ESPN
Honorary First Base Coach: Dave Dravecky, former Major League Baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres
Honorary Third Base Coach: Jim Abbott, former Major League Baseball pitcher for the California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Milwaukee Brewers
National Anthem Singer: Laura Dodd of Nashville, Tennessee
Color Guard: Brownie Girl Scout Troop #2970 and Junior Girl Scout Troop #2427 from Greenbelt, Maryland
Game Ball Presenter: Nine-year old Matt Bradley from Carnegie, Pennsylvania, will hand President Bush the game ball. Matt, diagnosed with ADHD and autism (Asperger's Syndrome), enjoys participating in the Scott Township Athletic Association Little League program, the Scott Township Library chess club, and the school chorus. Matt wrote a letter to the President announcing his own aspiration to be President of the United States.
Volunteer Recognition: Darrell Green, Chairman of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, joins the President in recognizing Laura Kissam of Oakton, Virginia, for answering the call to service and for her dedication to helping others. Laura is being recognized for her outstanding volunteer activities, including her work with children and adults with disabilities through the Loudoun Therapeutic Riding Foundation in Leesburg, Virginia.

Facts about the President's White House Tee Ball Initiative

President Bush launched his White House Tee Ball Initiative to promote interest in baseball and a spirit of teamwork and service for America's youth. This is the fourth year of the President's White House Tee Ball Initiative, and this is the second game of the 2004 season. Teams are selected by Little League Baseball in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and can be nominated online at www.littleleague.org.

What is tee ball? Tee ball is the entry sport to baseball for young players, generally four to eight years old. Tee ball develops the primary baseball skills of hitting, running, fielding, and throwing and gives children solid teamwork experience. Tee ball is played in every state and territory and in dozens of countries around the world. Participation is estimated at 2.2 million players -- 65% boys and 35% girls. Members of two teams take turns hitting a ball off a batting tee set on home plate. Batters try to get on base and advance to home; fielders try to prevent that from happening. The absence of pitching allows children to participate without the fear of being hit by a pitched ball. The players gain an understanding of the fundamental rules, which allows minimally competitive league play at all age levels.


President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush watch the Challenger Phillies of M.O.T. Little League from Middletown, Delaware take on the Challenger Yankees of Lancaster County Little Leagues from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with former NFL Washington Redskins player Darrell Green, center, at Tee Ball on the South Lawn at the White House on Sunday July 11, 2004.  White House photo by Paul MorseWhat is the Challenger League? Little League's Challenger division features teams of mentally and physically disabled children. This division serves the needs of disabled children by providing the learning experience of tee ball and the camaraderie of team sports. The players range in age from 5 to 18 years old. In the Challenger Division, players are accompanied by "buddies" who offer assistance to the Challenger players when needed. This fellowship between children with disabilities and the non-disabled helps develop social skills for both groups.