From Cincinnati News:
In a Reds season of mostly sweetness and light, maybe the sweetest and lightest thing of all happened on Aug. 17.
A young man with Down syndrome who really wasn’t supposed to be the batboy – not in the typical sense of the word, anyway – put some spring in the Reds’ steps.
The remarkable thing wasn’t that Teddy Kremer retrieved bats and foul balls and brought baseballs to the home plate umpire, it is that he did it with such aplomb, gusto and unbridled joy.
“They all could tell that Teddy is a guy who never has a bad day. How can you not love a guy like that?”
But if you know Ted – that’s what he likes being called, even though everybody calls him Teddy – it wasn’t remarkable at all.
Teddy was just being himself.
When Cheryl gave birth to Teddy, she was told the next day by the doctor that her son would likely never smile, probably wouldn’t talk, might not walk, and would never have more than a 40 IQ.
Those were tough words to hear, but Cheryl and her husband, Dave, were both in education, and they weren’t about to let what somebody said turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
By two weeks old, Teddy got occupational therapy at the pediatrician’s office so that he wouldn’t be floppy-legged. By five weeks, he was exposed to music at the Breyer School in Colerain Township, to which he clapped his hands, and looked in the mirror and was taught to look up, to strengthen his neck muscles.
By 13 months, he was in speech therapy, and soon he was matching colors and being taught to play with toys. Shortly after that, a teacher told the Kremers to “take him out, because Down syndrome kids mimic what they see, and if they don’t see it, they aren’t going to progress.”
By age 3, he was included in the regular classes at Mercy Montessori in East Walnut Hills, and he began swimming. And, oh, did Teddy Kremer progress. He walked, he talked, he smiled broadly. His personality began to emerge. By 7 he was swimming for the Mercy team.
At 16, he enrolled at Colerain High – again, in classes right along with the other kids, math and science and social studies and home economics and keyboarding at the vocational program – and competed on the swim team (“freestyle and backstroke,” he recalls, proudly) and was named student-coach on the teams for baseball and football, including the state grid champions in 2004. He rides horses on Monday nights, plays softball on Tuesday nights, does ballroom dancing on Wednesday nights, swims on Saturdays.
“I’ve always been around athletes my whole life,” he says.
He does clerical work three days a week at Hillcrest School in Springfield Township. He reads The Enquirer, follows closely the local sports team, knows as much if not more about them than anybody. He’s a diehard, easily reduced to sobs by an ill-timed loss.
So, when his parents attended a fundraiser last March at Mercy Montessori where the children of Phil Castellini, the Reds chief operations officer, attended, and they saw that one of the silent auction items was a night as a Reds batboy, they couldn’t resist.
Yes, the opportunity was listed for “age 15 to 19.” They asked Castellini if Teddy might be considered.
“He’s 29, but he acts like he’s 15 sometimes,” Cheryl explained.
“Put in your bid, and if it wins,” Phil promised Cheryl, “we’ll make it happen.”
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