As a mom to Brady, my special needs son, who has enjoyed playing baseball with the Greenwood Miracle League, I would like to say a big “thank you” to all the businesses as well as individuals who have contributed to making these first two seasons such a great success! Though GML is run completely by volunteers, the cost of the rubberized playing surface, fencing, bleachers, port-a-lets, etc. is high. This league for children ages 4 –19 with physical and mental disabilities would not be possible without the generous giving from so many great folks in our community.
For eight Saturday mornings this fall, with Brady proudly dressed in his Brave’s uniform, our family has headed to the Burton Center, where the baseball field is located, to watch our own “Chipper Jones” do his thing. There is something magical that occurs each Saturday as families come together to cheer our kids on. These kids may have come into this world with a different “package” than the norm, but when wearing their team jersey on this special field all those differences melt away. Every child is a winner.
Here’s what some other parents and volunteers have to say:
“It makes me smile to see all our children enjoying themselves without the fear of not being accepted. Seeing kids who were shy and reluctant to play at first, but now look forward to coming to the games on Saturday and having a chance to play baseball the way they know how, among friends. This is truly the best opportunity my son and the other children have had to just be kids, not disabled kids!”
“Watching Jared do his rendition of Elvis Presley each time he comes to bat and all the children doing the “Chicken Dance” with the Lander baseball team and other buddies between innings, seeing some of the kids hit their ball and then run after it before finding their way to first base, seeing kids in wheelchairs speeding across home plate with a huge grin on their face as Umpire Rick slings his arms and yells “SAFE,” these are just a few of the magical moments made possible by people who care.”
“Since volunteering with the GML we have really became close to most all of the kids. We spent lots of time snapping pictures as they were playing ball and just doing their thing on Saturday mornings. They are so cute with the poses they do for us when we come around with the camera. I think the GML is a wonderful asset to Greenwood and I am looking forward to the upcoming season”.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience the magic of Greenwood Miracle League, plan on joining us in April and May to see how real baseball is played. It will make you smile. If you have a child who might be interested in joining a team or you would like to help and join the fun, call our director Andy Lyle, at 942-8905.
A Greenwood Miracle League Mom’s story (Opening Day, 2013).
Caleb Joseph Morgan is the love of my life & the reason God made me. Caleb was one of the most wanted & prayed for babies that God has ever created. My husband, Wayne , & I decided to start trying for a baby not long after we were married. Wayne was already in his late 30s and had custody of his two boys from a previous marriage. He didn’t want to be 40 with a newborn. I was much, much, MUCH younger at only 25. That’s not relevant to our story at all… I just wanted you all to know. 🙂 So, we started trying, all the while praying, “God, please bless us with a healthy little girl.” Months went by & I was not getting pregnant. Our prayer stayed the same until one day the Lord put something on my heart. What if we are praying away our blessing!? What if we are refusing to accept another son!? In that very moment my heart changed. I shared my revelation with Wayne & our prayer changed as well. “God please forgive our selfishness. If it’s your will for us to have a baby, give us what you want us to have. Boy or Girl. Help us to allow him or her to be used for your glory.” We found out I was pregnant two weeks later & I knew without a doubt he was a boy! Once the ultrasound confirmed we were having a son, like most parents do, we started talking about & planning for all of the things we would do with our baby son. We were so excited about playing in the mud & four wheeler rides! Our favorite thing to talk about was Little League Baseball!
On May 29, 2005 our dreams for Caleb changed more than we ever thought possible. Caleb was born by emergency C-section because there was a hemorrhage. He was gray & lifeless at birth. He was having seizures & had to be intubated to breathe. We were told that Caleb was not going to live through the night. The blood loss had caused extensive damage to Caleb’s brain. We were in shock but God gave us such peace that we knew Caleb was going to live. The doctors wanted to give up on him but we knew that through Christ, ALL things are possible. Days in the NICU passed like centuries. Once the doctors saw that Caleb was going to pull through, their favorite words to toss around included ” vegetative ” and ” failure to thrive ” & ” poor quality of life “… Wayne and I were determined to help our precious son live his life to the absolute fullest! We’ve been doing just that since the day we left the hospital.
Caleb can’t run outside after a storm to play in the mud so Wayne & I carry him out to splash in the puddles with him. He LOVES that! He laughs and squeals with joy when we play in the mud. Doctors said “vegetative”, but I’ve never heard a carrot giggle!
Caleb can’t hop on the four wheeler & ride on his own like other children, so Wayne and I hop up there with him. Riding the four wheeler is one of his most favorite things to do. The breeze in his face makes him so relaxed and content. We believe he is “thriving” very nicely. Caleb can’t play baseball on his own & until I met Joel Smart (GML Buddy Coordinator), I didn’t know that Caleb could play baseball at all. Little League was still a sore spot for Wayne & I to think about. When Joel told me about the Greenwood Miracle League, I can’t put into words how thrilled I was that God had allowed he & I to cross paths. Within a few weeks’ time Caleb was signed up & playing in his first game with other boys and girls who have the same AMAZING and PURPOSEFUL “quality of life” that he has!
To say thank you to the people at The Greenwood Miracle League & The Burton Center just doesn’t seem like enough. What you do for our children is much bigger & goes way deeper than providing a way & a place to play a ball game. You all are showing our children that they are worthy of your time. You’re teaching them that their uniqueness is beautiful, that they can do anything & everything other kids do & it’s ok to do it in their own way. You guys not only tell them but you also show them that every child really does deserve the chance to play baseball!
I appreciate the chance to share a little bit of our story with all of you today. Thank you all for your time & God bless.