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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Miracle Baseball

It was my son's first baseball game ever.  There I was with my Nikon strapped around my neck, video camera on my hand, and my phone camera in my pocket, trying to keep track of my girls and crying all at the same time. 
You see this little boy has had the dream of playing baseball for a LONG time.  He has been asking for at least 3 years.  Well...begging is a more accurate description. 
Unfortunately a regular baseball league would not be possible for Luke.  His disabilities make the competition of regular play and social aspects of the game just too difficult...and while I understand that the regular leagues are just supposed to be fun...it wouldn't work for Luke.  His nature to challenge and question everything along with his limited attention span wouldn't work with his peers without special needs.
About 2 months ago, Luke came home with information on the Columbia River Miracle League from is OT at school.  Bless Ms. Kate for letting me know about this incredible program!  I promptly signed Luke up!  This league lets ANY child, no matter their disabilities play baseball.  The focus isn't on who can play first base, or who can throw the most accurate, or even what the score is (they don't keep score).  It is about FUN and giving kids the opportunity to experience playing on a field, running the bases, hitting the ball, wearing a uniform, while being ENCOURAGED by both teams! 

Today the mayor of Vancouver threw out the first pitch.  And the Evergreen High School Soccer team came to be buddies with the CUBS (Luke's team).  Each baseball player gets a buddy.  Luke's buddy today was Connor.  Connor did everything along side Luke.  He went up to bat with him, ran the bases with him, was along side Luke as he was fielding the ball (or every ball for that matter).  We need to work on the sharing aspect. :)  Personally my favorite play of the day was when Luke decided to run the ball to first base instead of throwing it.  Oh well...no one cared, and in fact told Luke "nice hustle Luke!" 
Imagine how my Luke must feel now... because today...when HE got up to bat...and HIT the ball...the crowd ERUPTED with CHEERING and CLAPPING because HE HIT THE BALL! "GO LUKE! RUN!!!" 

ALSO imagine how my Luke must feel because when he decided to get off first base to run over to me to excitedly tell me all about his "first" BIG hit, no one YELLED at him or told him NO or got UPSET.

NOPE..they CELEBRATED with him this huge VICTORY, which to LUKE is EVERYTHING and to anybody else wouldn't seem like much.   
Kids with disabilities are still "KIDS".  They have the SAME dreams as kids without disabilities.  Just..the road that they take to reach their dreams is different.  It may take the form of a 1 hour game where everyone bats each inning, everyone hits each inning and everyone makes a home run each inning.  The game is really 2 innings long.  No one worries about the score, or strategy or relief pitchers or even pitching from the mound for that matter.  I think Luke's biggest concern was what they were having for snack after the game....note to self...our snack turn is Sat. May 12. :)
It is true what they say..."it takes a village to raise a child".  I couldn't provide this "Miracle Baseball" experience for Luke even if I wanted to.  This was our neighborhood school reaching out to our family, connecting us with the community, so that Luke can have an experience like a "typical kid".  Because deep down...Luke is just a "typical kid" in an incredibly "special body". 

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