MURRELL COLUMN: Look no further, just ASK

Published 10:43 pm Thursday, March 31, 2016

The scene remains one of my more outstanding frames of reference.

One spring night, maybe a little sunlight left, much of the pine and dogwood were already silhouetted against the skyline while we were hanging out at an old little league ballpark. I recognized the park because it’s where I cut my teeth as a professional sports journalist the summer after my second year of college.

But on this night, the field of so many dreams came back to life with a new league in town. And the youngsters of the local Little League Challenger Division took the field with plenty of help from the one of the high school football teams.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The football players, who had just come off a state runner-up finish, enjoyed this night on the town. Decked in their home uniforms adorned with white stripes covering each shoulder, the team appropriately nicknamed the Zebras met new friends, as did the Challenger players. They helped them get around the pads and field balls with very little supervision from the head coach.

This was more than an act of volunteerism by the town’s local giants. This was a gap that had finally been bridged between Friday night stars and younger people who play because doctors may have told them they can’t play. Even the local university’s softball team came out to help.

Some frames of references prove very valuable in a career.

That memorable spring night two or three years ago immediately came to mind when Scott Ferguson talked to me about the roots of Adaptive Sports for Kids, or ASK. I nearly bragged about those football players giving back; that’s what I got the most out of that night.

The roots are in the Challenger Division, but it only offers kids a few months of competing … or just playing, I should say … on a baseball field.

Well, Ferguson, along with Allen Nation and Kerri May, wanted more for their children — the ones of their own and those that they coach. Now, ASK is a year-round, multi-sport program that opens its arms wide to any child registered through the state of Texas or Americans with Disabilities Act with a disability.

This Saturday, ASK is having a big celebration, and I’m excited for it.

The organization has grown so much in a few short years, the opening ceremonies will now be held at Vincent-Beck Stadium, the baseball venue at Lamar University, at 1 p.m. That will be followed by three games.

ASK’s success has depended on more than just financial contributions. The volunteerism of so many to provide a year-round outlet for special-needs children and even adults is truly invaluable.

While ASK helps to keep all kids active, we are now called to be active in investing in the lives of others in any way we can, even if it’s just showing a little support. We don’t have to look any further.

A story about Adaptive Sports for Kids will be available Sunday in our special section “Southeast Texas Profile 2016.”

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.