Westlake man awarded ESPY

Jeff Dell, center, holds the ESPY award he received from Emmit Golden of ESPN Cleveland 850 WKNR, left, and Jay Kelly from Elk and Elk. Photo by Kevin Barrett

Jeffrey Dell of Westlake was presented with an ESPY by ESPN Cleveland's Emmit Golden on July 8 for his work as player/coach with the Cleveland Scrappers Beep Baseball Team for those who are blind and visually impaired.

ESPN asked for nominations of coaches who people felt went above and beyond to keep their athletes engaged and active during the pandemic shutdown in 2020 and early 2021.

Being an adapted sport with sight-challenged athletes spread throughout Northeast Ohio, Jeff devised a plan to run Zoom practices and instructional workouts with the help of the Scrappers sighted volunteers and thanks to some special equipment he was able to secure through grants from the Challenged Athletes Fund (CAF) and the Cleveland Foundation.

One piece of equipment called a swing master gave the players the opportunity to work on improving how they swing a softball bat. This skill with little sight or being totally blind is a challenge but, thanks to Jeff's creativity and genuine concern for the players, the remote practices held twice a week from April 2020 through May 2021 really paid off.

The benefits were important beyond athletic training as the remote sessions kept the sight-challenged athletes engaged with others to combat isolation and loneliness which can be an issue for the blind community even under normal circumstances.

A member of the Westshore Lions Club, Jeff's concern for the health and well-being of the players impressed ESPN Cleveland to present Jeff with an ESPY.

To learn more about the Scrappers and the Westshore Lions Club please call 440-779-1025.

Kevin Barrett

I am a member of the Westshore Lions Club part of Lions clubs International community service. My service area includes helping the blind, we collect the used eye glasses and recently the Lions Club finished the Safety bucket project for the N. Olmsted and Westlake Schools.

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 10:26 AM, 07.20.2021