Special Olympics Athlete Plays in Church Softball League - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Special Olympics Athlete Plays in Church Softball League

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Just like any other softball game, when the batter steps into the box, all eyes are on them. 

Josh Anderson might not be a threat to hit it out of the park, but when he gets on base, his teammates cheer as if he did. 

Josh is a disabled athlete playing in a league with able-bodied players. He was born with Trisomy 8 Mosaic, a disability that causes hand contractions, facial anomalies, joint abnormalities and intellectual challenges. None of that stops him from stepping up to the plate.

"Everyone (is) so gracious when I mess up," says Anderson. "and be able to cheer me on even if I do strike out. Which I have plenty of times."

"It's awesome to see so many people cheer him on and so many people just root for him," says Josh's long time friend Eric Crawford."He wants to be treated just like everyone else. So as a team, that's what we do. As a person that's what I do. He's no different to me than any other person that's out there. "

Playing Softball is not the only time he's overcome the odds. When he was fifteen months old, a specialist told his parents that he would never be able to ride a bicycle. He proved that specialist wrong when he turned five. Now he can ride up to 50 miles.

"You want to call him up on the phone and say hey, he really is doing this. It's a very proud moment when you see a child riding a bike," says Josh's Mom Cindy. "Astonished that we could give him the same chances that everyone else had and just see how he could do. And he could do them."

That's only the tip of the Iceberg for Josh. He also plays soccer....buckles down on defense on the court, down hill ski's, kayaks and does triathlons. It's all in a day's work for the 2014 Montana Special Olympics Athlete of the Year.

"It was really humbling," says Josh. "I never imagined that I would be getting that award. I'd seen other people get it and was happy seeing them get it. It's just so humbling to be chosen to get that award."

"That was the biggest highlight of our lives, of his life," says Cindy. "just to see that he was recognized in such an amazing way--As much as he's very confident in speaking with people, he was actually speechless."

It's a good thing that Josh's actions speak louder than his words. Because sports allows him to beat his disability every day. And he wants to be treated like the winner he is.

"This was probably three or four years ago, but he actually hit the ball back to the pitcher's mound. And the pitcher decided not to throw it to first," says Crawford. Josh all of a sudden stopped....and definitely got upset that the pitcher wouldn't throw it to first and get him out. It was almost hard because you can see him being treated differently and he just didn't want it."

And that's because Josh is proud of the person that playing sports has allowed him to be.

"Just seeing how great god is. Taking something like disabilities and just shining his light through them. Letting his light shine in a big way."

Josh wants to be the beacon that inspires others to do what he does: having the courage to step into the batter's box no matter what pitch life throws his way

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