Devoted youth sports leader in Northridge recognized with honorary ESPY award

NORTHRIDGE (KABC) -- Behind every player there's a coach and behind every coach there is someone like Audrey Ritter.

Ritter received an honorary ESPY for volunteering as a youth sports leader and giving back to her community in Northridge as the president of the Northridge Little League.

Friends say when the pandemic hit Audrey was the key to getting the kids back on the field.

"With COVID she was just the tireless one who went through all the rules and figured out how she could bring some sort of program back here," said Jamie Bartholomew, the commissioner of the Northridge City Little League.

That program includes Audrey's husband who is a coach and no one knows more about her devotion to the league.

"I don't think there is anything that could make the woman happier - not even me," remarked Spencer Wilson, Audrey's husband.

But the pandemic put that happiness on hold as Audrey had only been on the job a few months when it hit.

"One of my first official duties as president of the league was to cancel the entire season for 600 players. It was devastating," said Audrey.

However, getting the kids back in the game was a challenge Audrey met with passion. The kind that only comes from a love for the game, a love for these kids, and a love for her community.

"Whatever they need I'll be here, be there for them: on the field throwing the ball with them, picking up trash, you know, giving them Band-Aids when they're injured. They make this a wonderful job," said Audrey.

And now someone has recognized it takes a special person to do that job.

MORE SOCAL STRONG | Nonprofit encourages young people with Down syndrome to embrace inner and outer beauty
EMBED More News Videos

The Art of Runway has been molding and shaping the confidence and esteem building of individuals with Down syndrome. The program's goal is to enhance self-esteem, social skills and motivate individuals to find their inner abilities.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.