In early 2001, Larry Wallace, a local softball coach, was at the State Championship. Larry was having difficultly locating his field when he came across a field with athletes playing baseball. Larry noticed all the athletes had a disability and a partner on the field assisting them with the game. Larry watched the game causing him and his team to be late for the State Championship.
When Larry returned to Clarksville he began contacting individuals and businesses to raise awareness and money to start a Challenger League under the local National Little League. Response was overwhelming by not only the athletes and parents but also by the local businesses. The athletes wanted to play more than just baseball! With this in mind, Larry and his coaches formed Buddy Ball Special Needs Athlete League. Larry’s first mission was that no athlete would pay to play Buddy Ball. This mission holds true today through the generous donations from the Clarksville Community.
Several local organizations and businesses donated supplies and money to make Larry’s dream come true. The Bikers Who Care offered seed money to start the league and they have remained constant supporters of the Buddy Ball to this day. Page’s Sporting Goods donated ALL the equipment needed to start the first baseball season. Since then, local businesses, civic organizations, and individuals throughout Clarksville have given ongoing support.
Today, Buddy Ball has grown tremendously with over 600 athletes participating each year with locations in Clarksville and Paris, Tennessee.