The Hippo


Jul 20, 2019








 CHaD Battle of the Badges Baseball Classic 

Where: Northeast Delta 
Dental Stadium, 1 Line Drive, Manchester
When: Sunday, Aug. 30, gates open at 12:30 p.m., game begins at 1:35 p.m
Cost: $10, and free for kids ages 10 and under

Stepping up to the plate
Firefighters and police officers play ball for kids

By Angie Sykeny

Firefighters and police officers from across New Hampshire will square off in a game of “Good vs. Good” at the CHaD Battle of the Badges Baseball Classic on Sunday, Aug. 30, at 1:35 p.m., at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, to raise funds to support kids receiving care at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
“With kids heading back to school the next week, [the game] is a chance for families to have one last summer day at the baseball field while supporting their local heroes making a difference,” Natalie Martinez, CHaD community relations manager, said.
This will be the fifth annual Battle of the Badges baseball game; Battle of the Badges originated eight years ago with the annual hockey championship. When a member of the Nashua Fire Department suggested having a baseball game as well, CHaD partnered with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to make it a reality.
The games are highly competitive. Many players have experience playing baseball in high school, college or the minor leagues. The captains of Team Fire and Team Police start holding tryouts in late spring. Once the rosters are set, the teams practice at least once a week until game day. The score is currently tied 2-to-2, so this year’s game will be a tiebreaker.
Jon Copeland of Lebanon Fire Department, returning for his fifth year on Team Fire, said the teams are usually equally matched and the audience can expect a very close game.
“[As] people in the emergency services, most of us are competitive by nature,” he said, “and obviously, with a game that’s Fire versus Police, [both departments] like to rag on each other and give each other a hard time, so it’s definitely competitive but a lot of fun for everyone.”
In addition to the baseball game, there will be free family activities like a Teddy Bear Clinic, where kids are invited to bring a stuffed animal for a check-up, a dress-like-a-surgeon station, making signs to cheer on the teams, limbo with the CHaDasaurus mascot and various games and contests on the field between innings.
For some families, Battle of the Badges is more than just a day at the ballpark. Each player is paired up with a “CHaD buddy,” a current or past CHaD patient in their community, a couple of months prior to the game. The players spend time with their buddies, getting to know them and their stories.
“It provides a face to what the players are supporting,” Martinez said. “A lot of times, these [buddies and their families] are our CHaD ambassadors, so they’re open about their experience with CHaD, so it gives the players an opportunity to meet a patient and hear about the care.”
Some players, like Copeland, have had the same buddies for multiple years and have developed enduring friendships with the buddies and their families.
“I’m pretty involved with the family to the point where we have a personal relationship,” he said. “We visit, have scheduled dates where we spend time together and play and do what kids like to do. Being close with my CHaD buddies, the game means more to me now because they’re who I play for.”
CHaD fundraisers help support the various programs that rely mostly on donations to function. That includes the Child Life Program, which offers families emotional support and provides children with toys and other items that will make them more comfortable; Molly’s Place, a family center with a play area for children and information resources for parents; and David’s House, a place to stay for families with children being treated at the CHaD Lebanon hospital.
The proceeds from Battle of the Badges come from the game ticket sales and from the players’ personal fundraising. Each player has a page on the event website where people can read about them and the CHaD buddy they are playing for, donate directly and leave encouraging messages.
While the main reason players participate in the game is to help a good cause, Copeland said, it’s also a chance for non-professional baseball players to live the dream for a day.
“I love to play baseball, so from a personal standpoint, it’s fun for me, because it’s the closest I’ll ever be to playing high-level baseball in a big stadium,” he said. “It’s a blast.” 

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