There is so much that we can learn from children who just want to belong. I illustrate my point by bringing up the story of Ryan Hobbs.

Ryan is in his third year of playing baseball with the Elkridge Youth Organization (EYO). He was born with cerebral palsy diplegia, which affects the lower extremities. Because of this, his running style is different from other children. But, because of his passion for baseball, Ryan has persisted. He started with the League of Dreams, a special-needs team, when he was 7, but he wanted to play for EYO. After some hesitation, his mother, Bonnie, notified the EYO leadership of his intent. Would Ryan be accepted by the other kids? The answer was "yes," and Ryan has now played on five teams and has exceeded his mom's expectations.

Sports teams become like families, teammates pulling for one another to succeed. The leaders at EYO and the coaches who have supervised Ryan should be congratulated. But the biggest congratulation must go to Ryan for not giving up on his dream.

Opening the pitch


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About 10 years ago I received a call from a gentleman asking if a cricket pitch could be built somewhere in Howard County

On Nov. 2, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held for a new pitch to be built between two football fields at Schooley Mill Park in Highland.

For years cricket players have been playing in Howard County wherever space was available. The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks believes that a 36-team league can be reached within two years.

Celebration of Sports is a hit

The tenth annual Celebration of Sports held at Turf Valley on Oct. 9 provided several great moments. The most heartwarming speech had to be the video of Gus Novotny from Florida, where he was undergoing chemotherapy. His words, "You can't see the tears in my eyes," will stay with many of us for years to come. I thought all seven induction speeches were good, but I must say that the keynote speaker, NBA official and Howard County resident Scott Foster, was one of the best I have ever heard and I have attended every induction ceremony since 2005. His comments about officiating and his run-ins with actor Jack Nicholson were priceless.

The thundering ovation that Paralympian Tatyana McFadden and her sister Hannah received was probably the loudest and longest that I have ever heard there. Tatyana captured three golds and one bronze medal at the London Paralympic Games.

Locals know Canne de Combat

I admit that I had never heard of Canne de Combat (combat cane) before. It is a French weapon sport in which players wear a fencing helmet and a protective uniform including gloves and shin pads. Combatants score points using a 3-foot, 11-inch cane made of chestnut wood or walnut by landing hits either to the top or side of the helmet, ribs, shins or calves with lateral and horizontal strikes.

Three Howard County residents represented the U.S. at the Canne de Combat World Championships in St. Herblain, France, from Sept. 22-23. Ten countries with more than 45 participants competed in the event. Elkridge's Steve Savoie coached the local team alongside Jim Reiser, with Thomas Dardour, Laura Zeafla and Stefanie Geaney competing. Dardour placed fifth in the individual men's competition, and Zeafla placed sixth among the women. It was the team's first appearance in the world championships.