Edison High Coach Steve Lambright wanted the players of his baseball program to experience what is really important in life Saturday morning at Westminster Park.
Along the way to finding that importance the players also discovered little smiles, pure joy and genuine love for the game.
The Edison Chargers helped produce that, as players from the freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams volunteered to coach and play with kids from the Challenger Division of the Huntington Beach Little League.
"Before we got here, I told them they are going to work with kids who have special needs," Lambright said. "I try to teach them baseball through life lessons. Now they are out here and working with these kids. They are helping and providing encouragement. That's what it's all about."
The Edison players' presence allowed parents like me to sit in the stands and cheer for their kid, or take some memorable photos.
My 7-year-old daughter, born with Down syndrome and diagnosed with autism, plays for the Trojans. Every Saturday we play against the Ducks. Well, it's not really against them. It's with them.
We all play together. No score is kept. We want the kids to experience the game of baseball.
The players from the Edison program helped with that cause.
Michael Mahony, a freshman at Edison, coached my daughter during the game. Michael moved to Orange County from the Bay Area at the beginning of the school year. My family is thankful he moved here.
He connected with my daughter. He even let her wear his hat.
Michael also enjoyed his day.
"I like it; it's a lot of fun," he said of working with the kids.
Each Saturday, the kids from the Trojans and Ducks play for two innings. Sometimes it's tough for all the little players to make it. One of my daughter's teammates is in the hospital. We all keep him in mind when we play. Some of us pray.
At the ballpark we can have fun. The Chargers helped make the day better.
"It's always nice to give back," said Timmy Lopes, an Edison senior who has committed to play for UC Irvine. "God's blessed us so much with our ability. To give back to these kids who are just happy to be out here it's a great thing. I look forward to it every year. I love it. It makes you feel great. Just to see you can bring a smile to a kid's face is great."
Lambright wasn't seeking publicity for his team. He didn't know I would be at the game.
Saturday was the first of three weeks the Edison Chargers will volunteer to play with kids from the Challenger Division. Over the next two weeks, Lambright will split up the players, having some come one week and the rest the week after.
The upcoming week is a big one for his varsity team, he said. The Chargers are in third place in the Sunset League at 8-5. But with two wins against Los Alamitos (10-3 in league), they have a chance to become league champions.
No matter what takes place, in the eyes of the players and parents of the Challenger Division the Edison Chargers are already champions.
Twitter: @SteveVirgenCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun