Unsung Hero #236

Baseball season is in full swing (ho ho). Which means there’s no better time to honor Beth Cody as our Unsung Hero than now.

Beth Cody

After nearly 22 years, Beth is Westport Little League’s 2nd-longest tenured volunteer. She is currently executive secretary, and as registrar handles all baseball and softball registration.

But her real value comes as co-founder and commissioner of the Challenger program.

She and her son Jack started Challenger — a program for children with mental and physical challenges — 9 years ago.

Together, they built it (and the Westport Winners team) from scratch. Beth administers it entirely herself — including outreach to sponsors, so it is entirely free.

Challenger commissioner Beth Cody (front, blue shirt) join Challenger players, buddies, Staples High School players and Little League alum/Duke University star Chad Knight (center rear, white shirt) at the diamond.

Westport Little League president Jeffrey Brill calls Challenger “the gold standard of our Little League.” Though Beth has no child in the program, she  singlehandedly coordinates it all: securing fields; ordering equipment, uniforms and trophies; scheduling and re-scheduling games; recruiting players ages 5-18; organizing coaches; finding and pairing over 200 “buddies” a year, and running creative events like Field Day, Halloween parties and pizza parties.

Beth attends every game and activity, home and away. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and helps create the warm, intimate feeling that is a Westport Challenger hallmark.

Among Beth Cody’s many activities: taking photos at Challenger games.

Buddies form lifelong friendships with players. Brill sees this first-hand with his son, a buddy volunteer with a lasting relationship with a player that transcends the diamond. Both have been enriched beyond measure.

Beth’s admirers are legion. A mother says, “After 17 years in Westport sports, she is the most dedicated team manager I have ever known. Beth shows patience and kindness toward every player, buddy, and the parents. She may be the most disappointed participant when we have to cancel due to weather!”

Parent Stacie Curran says the program provides “a true sense of belonging to a team. Challenger Baseball is a place of comfort and no judgment. Parents share common struggles, support, patience and understanding.

“We laugh, we cry, we rely on each other – and we owe our thanks for this club to the amazing ‘Commish’ Cody.”

Beth Cody with Westport Winner stalwart Dylan Curran.

Parent Beth Fahimi adds: “Beth is always at the helm. She is very calm and diligent, making sure each player has what they need. She provides a safe, first- class environment. She creates strategic lineups, knowing some children can wait their turn, or not. She watches, adjusts, and makes the team successful both playing and having fun.”

Congratulations, Beth Cody. You are our hands-down, heartfelt, Unsung Hero this week. And every other week too!

EXTRA INNINGS: Beth’s 31-year-old son Nicholas and 26-year-old son Jack played baseball in Westport from pre-school to high school. She has loved the sport since her first Yankee games as a 5-year-old, cheering for Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Before moving to Westport 30 years ago, she lived in Manhattan and was vice president/associate media director at an advertising agency. She and her husband Paul have been married for 33 years.

26 responses to “Unsung Hero #236

  1. Andrea Cross

    So well deserved. Go Commish and all the Challenger participants and their families!

  2. Excellent choice and so well deserved.

  3. Great article that only scratches the surface of Beth’s innumerable contributions to Westport Little League over 22 continuous years. She is the GOAT!

  4. Jim Westphal

    Great and well deserved choice!

  5. Carmelo D’Anthony

    I love Challenger!

  6. Markley Rizzi

    Congratulations Beth!!! So well deserved!
    We are so lucky to have YOU and Challenger baseball❤️⚾️

  7. The best program in Westport, made possible by my mom!

  8. Chuck Greenlee

    GOD BLESS you Beth. AND all the others involved in the CHALLENGER program!! …AND other programs involving our other not for profit programs! CWG

  9. Deborah Trueman

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article about my sister Beth Cody. The recognition is so well-deserved.
    She really gives her heart and soul to the Challenger program, as do my nephews Nicholas and Jack who’ve volunteered as Buddies since the program’s inception.
    I am so proud of all of them!!

  10. Thanks so much for the accolades, Dan! I’ve been on cloud nine all day! I also want to thank the amazing coaches who have led the team since Day One–Mike Connors and Todd Ehrlich. Amazing people!

  11. Congratulations ! Well deserved!

  12. Stephen Axthelm

    Congrats Commish! Well deserved! It was a pleasure working with you for so many years – Ax

  13. Nicholas Cody

    The Challenger program has been incredible! Kudos to my mom and brother for spearheading such a wonderful initiative.

  14. Rhona Lieberson

    Beth, You are truly an amazing and unselfish person!!! Speaking not as a parent, but as a grandparent, any and all accolades are more than deserved. You and your sons give this incredible program your all. Thank you,
    Rhona Lieberson

  15. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    Great article!

    From up north,here,Western Massachusetts, I wish there had been a
    Beth Cody here, many years ago..
    Westport really steps up to the plate with all these wonderful programs for special needs.

  16. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my two wonderful sons, Nick and Jack. Any time they’ve been in town over the last nine years, they’ve been on the Challenger field. Nobody better at working with and befriending the players!

  17. Jennifer Putman

    Challenger is something my son, my husband and I look forward to every week. One of the few fun, stress free, truly inclusive activities locally. It would be nothing without Beth!

  18. Amy Chernoff Elkind

    Beth Cody is the reason we, (me, my husband and BOTH adult kids and their families) moved to Westport! I visited Beth over (30) years ago when she was a favorite client of mine—I knew this town was special and finally arrived one year ago! I had the pleasure of attending three of the Challenger games last season and can not wait to go to another Challenger game this Spring!

    I ADORE seeing the beautiful, happy faces of the Westport Winners and have met some of the nicest, most interesting folks at the Challenger games. I always leave the games feeling better than when I arrived! I am honored to be able to call Beth my friend……..the world is a better place because of people like Beth Cody!

    Thank you so much for featuring Beth in your informative and upbeat 06880 “Unsung Hero” newsletter. She is the one who recommended I subscribe when I moved here a year ago I have enjoyed reading 06880 each and every day and want to thank you for all you do Dan, for all of us in the incredible Westport town!

    All My Best,
    Amy Chernoff Elkind

  19. Kelly Konstanty

    This is AMAZING and Beth is truly an unsung hero and has brought these kids so much joy. Her selflessness and passion for both these kids and baseball is second to none. If you ever have the chance you need to come to one of these games. The smiles speak volumes. Congratulations Beth! xo

  20. Congratulations Beth, all of us are better people for having known you and you are an inspiration for us.
    May I suggest a Beth Cody dedicated sign/banner somewhere at meyer

  21. In lieu of the sign above the port-a-potties I always wanted? lol

  22. David J. Loffredo

    I think I was the Instructional League Softball Commissioner for a decade, and for long after my girls were thru the process – mostly because of Beth.

    At the entry point of the funnel full of a bunch of anxious parents and girls, you need a Mom. And your first connection to a somewhat anxious process is Beth.

    Claire wants to be on Kate’s team. Or Jody doesn’t know anyone because she’s new, can we find a team with a bunch of “Coleytown kids”. Beth always cared about how we could make that work.

    As a Westport Little League kid myself – Rams 1976 Cap League Champs, celebrated at Arcudi Pizza after beating his team – after moving back as a Parent in 2000 I only ever wanted to give back, and meeting (or in Bill’s case, re-meeting because he never left!) people like Beth and Bill Meyer, and Steve Axhelm, made me quickly realize what treasures we have in the Westport Community.

    You deserve all the accolades Beth!

  23. Joanne Heller

    Congratulations Beth! What a well deserved honor. Your love of the sport and the ability to make it inclusive for all is one of the many things that make Westport so special.

  24. Stacy Stableford

    No longer an Unsung Hero! Beth, more than anyone in recent memory, deserves to be celebrated and lauded for all the time-devouring, sometimes agonizing, but always satisfying work she has done and continues to do each and every year. It’s done out of love: for the Challenger Program, for all the kids, their parents, the game of baseball itself. In all the years I’ve known and have come to love this incredibly smart and wickedly funny woman, she has not once bragged or said much at all about her job as “Commish.” While others seek the limelight and need ego-boosting affirmation in return for their good deeds (which are diminished by the very need for thanks), Beth has done the opposite, elevating her to super human being status and cementing her place in the annals of Who’s Who, Hero Edition. Beth Cody, master at fitting all the pieces together for kids and their parents, master crossword and Spelling Bee puzzler, amazing mom and wife, and caring—always so caring friend—deserves every note, message, call, and accolades we can give her. Thank you, Beth, for your service to all the kids and for being an essential part of Westport’s identity as a wonderful place to live and bring up children.

  25. Jill Rappaport

    This is a wonderful program and what we absolutely need during these uncertain and stressful times!
    Bravo to Beth Cody for her leadership, compassion and determination to making this a life-changing initiative!