St. Peters, Missouri – Field of dreams for deaf players
by Mike Bush
ST. PETERS, Mo. – It’s the time of year when the sounds of summer can be heard all over the country but not by the kids on these baseball fields in St. Peters, Missouri. This is the Mike Bush Fantasy Baseball Camp for the deaf and hard of hearing.
“We play baseball but it’s so much more than baseball,” explained Camp Director Cari Hampton.
Nine-year-old Harrison Beck is in his third year here.
“I’ve been hitting and catching. Practicing all my baseball skills,” he said by sign language.
Harrison discovered a love for sports when he was just a toddler about the same time doctors discovered that he was deaf. His dad says, the diagnosis was actually a blessing.
“Before we just knew we had a kid that wasn’t talking then we knew we had a deaf child,” said Dan Beck, Harrison’s dad.
Still, like most children his dad says he just wanted to fit in.
“It’s hard for a kid who can’t hear and talk like every other kid to join in a team sport,” he said.
That’s why, 25 years ago, this camp was started. For a week every summer, some 60 kids who often get singled out because of their disability get to standout because of their ability.
“I want them to feel, feel like they’re special and they’re important and they’re just as important as everyone else,” explained Hampton.