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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.