Mill Valley Boy Starts Own Baseball League In Order To Play With Older Brother With Autism - NBC Bay Area
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Mill Valley Boy Starts Own Baseball League In Order To Play With Older Brother With Autism

As a young boy, two of Tyler Barbee's favorite things were the sport of baseball and his older brother, Connor. When he was 11-years-old he figured out a way to bring the two together. (Published Wednesday, May 13, 2015)

As a young boy, Tyler Barbee's favorite position in baseball was that of pitcher.

His older brother Connor's favorite position was anywhere else but that baseball diamond.

"He gets too easily over-stimulated by that environment," Tyler, 17, says about his brother Connor, 21, who has autism.

Still, baseball was such a big part of Tyler's life growing up it troubled him he couldn't share it with his brother, someone Tyler admired for his boundless friendliness and compassion.

Tyler Barbee, 17 of Mill Valley, started his own baseball league at the age of 11 in order to give his older brother, Connor, who has autism, a place to play.

"I think Connor is the nicest brother anyone could have," Tyler says.

Looking for a way to combine his passion for baseball and his love for his brother is what lead Tyler, when he was just eleven-years-old, to create his own baseball league.That way, Connor, and other children with special needs, could play on the same field as Tyler and his friends.

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"I wanted to give Connor that same sense of community in a less stimulating environment."

Tyler's baseball league has been so successful it has since grown into its own non profit, Project Awareness and Special Sports (PAASS), helping more than one hundred children with special needs participate in five different sports.

Tyler's league, Project Awareness And Special Sports, pairs children with special needs with one or more "buddies," usually Tyler's baseball-playing friends from Mt. Tamalpias High School

During PAASS's baseball season, which runs from April to June, each player with special needs is paired with one or more "buddies," usually Tyler's baseball-playing friends from Mt. Tamalpias High School.

During their brief, 2-inning games, the buddies help the players field, hit, and, when possible, run the bases. Tyler believes in the process his friends learn more about children with special needs than those children learn about baseball.

"If you are patient and work with them you will see they have so much more to offer than you think," Tyler says.

PAASS has now expanded to four other sports in addition to baseball and works with more than one hundred children with special needs each year.

As for Connor, he played in Tyler's league for the first few years but his interests have since changed and he is now a passionate photographer, coming to the league's games each weekend to capture images of the players and the action. 

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