- Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 18:25
- Published on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 18:25
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KG Red Challenger baseball star takes center-stage
King George Challenger Red baseball may never be same! After Rachel “Boom Boom” Sheehan sang the National Anthem in front of 20,000 fans at the Worldwide Challenger Jamboree in Virginia Beach, nothing, including a fastball from a rival little leaguer can stop her now. “The funniest thing is to be in front of a crowd, whereas I usually sing to myself sometimes,” Rachel said. “Singing in front of a crowd is a lot better than singing to myself.”
The baseball Jamboree is the largest of its kind in the world. Challengers Red has become a mechanism for children with disabilities in King George to enjoy America’s favorite pastime in a competitive format. Eighty-two teams from West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania competed in the event.
The climate at the Jamboree was nothing short of electrifying after she left the microphone. “She had her eyes closed the entire time she was singing, and towards the end, she opened her eyes with a big smile on her face and finished it,” Rachel’s mother, Diane said.
Rachel began singing in front of crowds three years ago, when she sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” three years ago during the opening day for King George Little League Baseball. Since then, she has sang the Star Spangled Banner for opening day for little league baseball in King George and at the Jamboree in Virginia Beach. King George Challenger Red baseball head coach Linda Davis discovered Rachel’s ability to sing during a trip to visit teammate, Kyle “Big K” Draper in the hospital. “She will sing anywhere, anytime and she has more courage than anybody on the team,” Davis said.
Thanks to the efforts of Virginia District Eight Challengers Little League Baseball administrator Jake Hardison, Rachel has been asked to sing in the 2010 Jamboree.
The sport of baseball runs deep in the Sheehan family. Every weekend for the past eight years, Rachel’s parents have made a commitment to drive from their home in Waldorf, Maryland to baseball parks off the beaten path in King George, in order for their son, Mathew and daughter Rachel to play the game of baseball.
After witnessing their son Mathew’s interest in baseball, Rachel’s mother Diane along with her husband Mark soon realized how important it became to make Rachel a member of the team four years ago. “It has made her acceptable to being around other people, and it’s made her understand kids with special needs a lot more,” Diane said.
Rachel’s father Mark has close professional ties with King George. He has worked an electronics engineer at NAVSEA, in Dahlgren, for nine years, in the W51, Certification for Future Combatant Ships department.
Not only has it brought them closer together as a family, but also, the atmosphere of friendship continues to broaden their scope of how people from different backgrounds can share the same kindred spirit of sportsmanship.
As far as her ability to compete, like all of her teammates, Rachel is capable of playing any position on the field. “The kid can play—she scraps when she is at the catcher position,” coach Davis said. “She’s such a tiny mouse, but she is big and brave, and a amazing ball player who is also a switch hitter.”
On Saturday June 6th the Reds will host the Baltimore Oriole Advocates at Barnesfield Park for a Challenger appreciation day. Ceremonies begin at noon.
For more information call Linda Davis at 540.809.8205. Go King George Reds!