On Monday I sat in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon and cheered for heroes so sweet they made me smile for days. I found baseball in its purest form and all that is right with America’s favorite pastime on the John Wollner Miracle League Field of the Fox Cities.
“Everybody hits, everybody runs, everybody scores,” a battle cry I recall from my Little League days many, many years ago, became a reality in the Fox Cities five years ago, when a group of committed visionaries accomplished the genuine miracle of a level playing field.
Everybody hits, from a pitched ball or a tee. Everybody runs, whether they’re wheel-chair bound or cognitively disabled. Everybody scores.
It’s a perfect game. Every night.
I came to watch Molly and her new little buddy Emily play a sport whose history had fascinated me for years. From the clink of the bat, to the cheers of the crowd, to the enthusiastic rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” everything about the game seemed familiar to me, with an added level of transcendent joy.
I saw hustle, teamwork, athleticism, encouragement, pride, courage, strategy, effort and celebration.
Mostly, though, I saw a bunch of kids playing a game on a sunny afternoon in one of America’s coolest ballparks.
I can’t think of a more pleasant way to spend a late summer afternoon.