The Miracle League brings baseball to handicapped children
The Mircacle Baseball of Joliet, for handicapped children of any ability or disability, plays on a custom-designed rubberized turf field that accommodates to wheelchairs and walkers. The field is behind Silver Cross Field in downtown Joliet.
The Miracle League of Joliet, which is in the middle of its fifth season, is a non-profit organization that provides the opportunity for handicapped children of any ability or disability to play America’s pastime of baseball.
”It was born as a national organization that was started in 1999 just outside of Atlanta. A Rotary Club there and a little league saw the need for something for handicapped kids to play baseball, so they invited some kids to play on the little league,” said Miracle League Vice President Nick Ferro. “They found that the dirt and the grass and everything caused problems for the wheel chairs and the walkers, so they started it and kind of took it to a national organization. We got in touch with them in 2006 and started putting ours together.”
The Miracle League’s baseball games take place on Saturday mornings beginning at 8:15 a.m. and ending around 4 p.m. in the afternoon. They play on a custom-designed rubberized turf field that is accommodating to the children’s wheelchairs and walkers. The field is located just behind Silver Cross Field in downtown Joliet.
“This is our fifth season of actually playing,” said Ferro. “We built the field six years ago, and started raising funds about a year or so before that. We finally have gotten the whole field paid off, and we have about 150 to 160 kids each season playing baseball.”
Ferro believes that by being a member of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce, his organization will be benefitted through the Chamber’s networking capabilities.
“We try to keep the costs down as much as possible for the kids,” said Ferro. “The good news is the field is paid off, but obviously we still have expenses such as uniforms and equipment. We act like any other league, and you can see that we sell outfield signage among other things. The Chamber is a place we can go to network. We would like to connect with local businesses because that’s who’s going to support this kind of thing.”
Ferro believes that, more than anything, the greatest support that The Miracle League can receive would be through community attendance of the children’s baseball games.
“I always tell everybody, if you’re driving around on a Saturday and you stop by, it’s a really neat thing to see these kids playing ball,” said Ferro. “These kids either didn’t get a chance to play or have been told they can’t, and now they’re out there. What the kids enjoy more than anything is people coming and sitting in and cheering for them. It’s a really neat thing not only for the kids, but also for their parents.”
For more information about The Miracle League of Joliet, visit its Website at www.miracleleagueofjoliet.com. You can contact Miracle League Vice President Nick Ferro via phone at (815) 774-9222 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.