Washington D.C., Apr 2, 2020 / 14:00 pm
While sports around the country have seen their seasons suspended due to COVID-19, spatula baseball season is in full swing at one of the L’Arche community houses in Washington, D.C.
Faced with quarantines and stay-at-home orders, the four houses of L’Arche Greater Washington, D.C. (GWDC) were forced to adjust to a whole host of changes to keep the members of the community safe.
But, according to Luke Smith, executive director and community leader of L’Arche Greater Washington, the changes have meant that the L’Arche homes are doing what they do best: embracing creativity.
“We're very creative as a community,” Smith said, noting that there are many artists within the organization. “We're intentional communities, so we're intentional about how we share our gifts--and we're full of gifts--and so, and we've taken time to kind of lean into our creative energies.”
L’Arche GWDC is part of L’Arche International, “a worldwide federation of people, with and without intellectual disabilities, working together for a world where all belong.” L’Arche communities consist of “core members,” who have intellectual disabilities, and “assistants,” who generally do not have intellectual disabilities, and who live in community with core members. There are 14 “core members” in the Washington area.
Part of L’Arche’s “leaning in” to creativity involves devising new ways to pass the time. One home is having community members give “TED Talks” each night about topics they are interested in, and residents at another home invented “spatula baseball”--a game that has proven to be quite popular.
Unlike traditional baseball, which uses a bat and a ball, “spatula baseball” is designed to be played indoors--Smith said it is typically played in the kitchen and living room--and uses a spatula in place of the bat and a paper ball instead of a baseball. Once batters hit the ball, they proceed to walk around the bases.
Smith said that while community members are flexing their creative muscles at this time, others have tried to stick to a routine, even though they can no longer attend day programs or go to work due to the coronavirus.