On Sept. 26 approximately 150 children and young adults with disabilities made history as they stepped onto the Texas Rangers Miracle League Field and became the first players to play in the newly created Southlake Miracle League.
The first Miracle League was created in Georgia in April 2000. Since then the league has provided those with disabilities the chance to play baseball throughout the country.
There are approximately 150 children and young adults with disabilities who are registered for the fall season.[/caption]
The president of Southlake Miracle League, Phillip Meyer, said although the league just began its first season, it has been in the works for years.
“This started about five years ago,” he said. “I contacted Mike Mills, a fellow Southlake resident who was then coaching in the Arlington Miracle League, and I was a buddy down in Arlington. So we applied for our membership, and then we started approaching cities and looking for land to build [the Miracle League field]. And when we approached [Southlake] we happened to approach them at the same time they were getting ready to do an $11 million redo on Bicentennial Park Phase 2.”
The Miracle League and city of Southlake joined together to build the Miracle League field in Southlake and have entered into a naming rights and sponsorship agreement with the Texas Rangers Foundation. The foundation has donated $100,000 toward the construction of the Miracle League Field.
Meyer said the league is like no other in that it allows every player to play in each game.
“I think the unique thing about us is that every kid gets a chance to play regardless of needs or ability,” he said. “It’s treated like a regular baseball game—we’ve got the national anthem, the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the game, and after the game they shake their opponents’ hands.”
At no cost to the players or parents the league provides a uniform and equipment to each player.
“We just want to make sure that the kids, the volunteers and the parents have the best time they can possibly have,” Meyer said. “We don’t want them to worry about expenditures.”
Meyer said another unique aspect of the league is the “buddy,” which is one of the most important elements of the Miracle League as they are with the players every step of the way, including in the game. Buddies can be parents, students, schoolmates, athletes or business leaders.
Meyer said the Miracle League is always looking for more volunteers and sponsors. Those interested can register on the website.
“It’s good for the kids,” he said. “It’s probably the most positive hour the kids will have—even for the buddies, the coaches and the announcers. It’s just one of the most positive experiences you’ll have.”