It's a Saturday morning and Leo Rose seems to be everywhere on the Jane Wilkins Bronco Field. He wears a red 2004 Christopher League NYO tee shirt with the names of that year's participants --- the special-needs players and their 'buddies.' This is the final Saturday of the 2014 spring season, and there are pictures to be taken, trophies to be handed out and awards to be made. Leo, the Christopher League commissioner, is a busy man, but he has his family to help him. Jennifer Rose, Leo's wife, makes sure everything runs smoothly from her spot in the dugout. On the field, their children, Elizabeth, a 29-year-old attorney, and Leo IV, a 26-year-old financial analyst, work with players.
For 15 years, the Rose family has spent Saturday mornings in the spring and fall making the dream of baseball come true for young people who otherwise might never throw or hit a baseball. 'If it's Saturday, it's Christopher League day,' says Leo IV who, like his sister, made it back to NYO on spring break when they were in college. A generation of NYO players have also benefitted, working as 'buddies' to the Christopher League participants. 'The buddies come to know a child just like them, even if that child may look a little different,' explains Jennifer Rose.
Two 'buddies' --- Sam Moss and Chad Davis, baseball players at Riverwood High School --- will receive the Nick Napolitano award for their years of service to the Christopher League. Leo Rose will sing the praises of Sam, Chad and all the volunteers ('I just send out and email and people show up,' Leo says), and he will do what all good leaders do. He will step aside and let the spotlight linger on others.
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