Wonder of wonders, miracle of Miracle League

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.

Miracle League
This is my most special place in all the world, Ray. Once a place touches you like this, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel for it, like it was your child.
The field of dreams
Everybody hits…
Rounding First
Everybody runs…
safe at home
Everybody scores. Check out the home plate celebration! Pure joy.
number one dad
Every player has a buddy.
Nice cut
Molly’s new friend Emily turned out to be an enthusiastic batter.
High Five
A high-five for a job well done.
Giving a hand
How great is this league?
Take me out to the ballgame
A rousing rendition of Take Me out to the Ballgame
Shaking hands
The post-game congratulations.
A new friend
The blessing of a new friend.

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