Miracles happen in Clark County, and many families witness this via the Miracle League. The Miracle League is a baseball program like none other in the area, where all abilities are not only welcomed but celebrated. This baseball league gives young girls and boys a place to enjoy this favorite sport that may not have fit in a traditional team.
For special needs children and young adults ages 4 and up, this is a chance to enjoy the longtime tradition of playing baseball in the spring and summer. This is indeed a family sport and a joy for everyone involved.
The league uses baseball and sportsmanship as a way to connect those with disabilities with a genuine love of sports. Anyone with a physical disability, intellectual disability or a combination of both has a place in their fields.
Attending a game with the Miracle League is something beyond what many would expect from a baseball game. While the game appears to be the same, things are run slightly different. Each game is set up to allow all players the chance to succeed and feel the joy of getting that big hit on the field.
Players are grouped by age, and each game lasts two-inning total. Instead of focusing on getting others out or pushing for the highest score, the games focus on the joy of being on the field. Each player gets the chance to not only bat in every inning but also they will make a run for their team each attempt.
The joy of this league is not tied to winners and losers, but the effort it takes to participate. It is not unusual to see players using wheelchairs, walkers and other devices to round the bases. Because the focus is not on which team is victorious, parents from both sides stand and cheer for every runner passing home plate.
Team members quickly become lifelong friends and parents connect with others. The cheering for these special athletes is not tied to a short-term win but instead lifelong learning. There are many moments each Saturday afternoon during the season that bring many to tears.
Over the last few years, this has included stands full of parents cheering as a young boy rounded the bases in his walker. In his case, he had started the season using a wheelchair but wanted to end the year making the rounds without the chair. There were times this young man was not well enough to even push himself around the bases in his chair, but he was able to recover in time to make the trek via his walker.
Because each of the players has a unique set of challenges that kept them from a standard baseball team, the league has found a unique way to support players on the field. They operate under the buddy system, with each player having a volunteer partner.
The buddies support the players whether they need someone to make sure they get from base to base in a wheelchair or guidance to play on the field. The buddies are all volunteers and come from a variety of places. Each Saturday a new set of buddies takes the field, from places like a local bank or even the baseball team from an area high school.
While many may assume the gift of their time is a bonus for the players, but participating as a buddy also has served as a valuable life lesson for many groups. It is truly humbling for high school athletes to see the smiles from their buddies as they work hard to round the bases despite their physical limitations. It is often difficult to decide who is having more fun, the buddies or the players.
The chance to witness the joy of playing baseball just to play is something many do not get to do. The league is currently accepting volunteers to work as buddies for the spring season. They play games each Saturday until June.
For families with athletes interested in playing with the league, they will start the next season in August. For more information, please access their schedule online