Local coach making a difference for 30 years, one softball game at a time

Published: May. 27, 2023 at 4:59 PM CDT
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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (KCTV) - On Monday nights, the hidden valley sports complex in Blue Springs is transformed into one of the happiest places on earth.

On these fields, players aren’t judged by how fast they run or by how hard they hit or by how hard they can field.

The organizers call it “Exceptionals Softball League” in Blue Springs, Missouri.

For 30 years, Exceptionals Softball has given kids and young adults a chance to compete.

Long-time softball Coach Sterling Farber formed the league in 1993, after seeing a young girl in a wheelchair and he could see that she felt left out during a game.

Coach Farber says that young girl was diagnosed with spina bifida. He remembers seeing that young girl pull herself up behind a fence to sit and watch other kids play softball.

“And it just dawned on me that she would love to be out there playing as well,” Farber said.

That was the beginning of the Exceptionals Softball League, a formation of 18 teams playing games every Monday.

“Two of our goals were to let the kids have fun and then also to let the parents have one hour a week to where they can just sit in the stands and enjoy their child,” Coach Farber said.

Each player is assigned a buddy that can help the players.

There are no balls, strikes and no outs in the game. Everyone gets a chance to hit and run or roll around the bases.

There are all kinds of players, and their joy is apparent. Mike Zalansky’s son has been playing for 11 years.

“You can see it when they hit, when they catch, when they run the bases, it’s amazing.” Zalansky said.

“It’s so exciting to see what happens out here every Monday night,” Exceptional League Director and Coach Farber’s daughter, Laurie Munzuris said.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Munzuris now runs the league and keeping up with her Dad’s strict guideline to never charge anybody to play and to never turn kids away. Even when they’re no longer kids.

“It’s totally free. You get a t-shirt. You get a trophy at the end of the year, and we usually have some fun hotdog night at the end of the year,” Munzuris said.

The season wraps up in late June but there is still time to join.

“It was originally designed to be for kids from five to 19, but when they got to be 20 and 21, I could never tell them they couldn’t play anymore,” Coach Farber said.

For more information, visit the Exceptionals Softball League.