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A special coach

Alan Webb teaches special-needs kids about baseball but says they have taught him so much in return.

May 21, 2013|By Steve Virgen
  • Manager Alan Webb, 77, high fives Julia Kelly, 9, during a Little League District 62 Challenger Division Baseball game at Westminster Park on April 27.
Manager Alan Webb, 77, high fives Julia Kelly, 9, during… (KEVIN CHANG, HB…)

Outside a bowling lane, in the background, snapping pictures with his camera stood Alan Webb, an elderly man.

He didn't have any children or grandchildren bowling. But he's connected to this group of children who were having fun at Irvine Lanes on a Saturday afternoon.

He smiled as he took photos. Most likely the photos would be a part of a scrapbook or other photo albums that Webb keeps of his "family" of special children.

Webb, 77, a Huntington Beach resident, enjoys his work as a volunteer baseball coach for the District 62 Challenger Division.

He'll sometimes set up fun outings, like to the bowling alley. Mostly, he's just around to help with the Challenger Division.

Webb has been around for the past 23 years. He's made an impact with special-needs children and their families with his support and eagerness to teach baseball to the kids.

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"I think the reason I always stayed with the Challenger Division is because I love the kids," Webb said. "I like helping them. The parents are wonderful. In regular Little League, the parents would come up to me and say, 'The umpire did a bad job,' or, 'Why didn't my kid pitch today?'"

Webb was a team manager and on the Little League board for about 17 years at Covina American Little League and Ocean View Little League. After his son, Chris, finished eligibility at OVLL, Webb stayed with the league and was later asked to help with the Challenger Division.

"Nobody matches him as far as dedication and reliability," said Chrissy Land, the District 62 Challenger Division president, who has been with the Challenger Division for the past six years. "We can always count on Alan to be there. He loves it. He doesn't have any children of his own in the program. I think it's the families that keep him coming back."

Webb is now a manager for the Dodgers and is listed as the Challenger Division's player agent. My 8-year-old daughter, Trinity, is on the Dodgers. Webb usually smiles when he sees her, and Trinity likes to pound her fist against his for his approval.

Webb enjoys dealing with all the children. He also enjoyed it when high school baseball teams from Edison, Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley helped the little baseball players this season.

A photo album of all the Challenger Division teams he's been a part of is kept in a special place in his home. Fifteen open pages in the back of the book are ready for additions.

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