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Miracle League of Joplin has Opening Day, Adults Included - KOAM TV 7

Miracle League of Joplin has Opening Day, Adults Included

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Today was opening day at the Will Norton Miracle Field as dozens of people with disabilities get the chance to run the bases as a part of the Miracle League of Joplin. This year, games were open to adults.
He steps up to the plate with one thing on his mind.
“I hope I hit a home run in the beginning of the game,” says player Nathan Smith.
With 1 swing, he makes contact. The crowd cheers, but as he runs to first base he's not surprised.
“Well my nickname comes from the transformers movie, the bone crusher,” says Smith.
Nathan loves being out on the diamond and now, he can play with others his age. The Miracle League of Joplin now offers an adult league, open to anyone 18 and older with intellectual or physical disabilities.
“It allows all these other children and young adults to participate in something that’s meaningful to them,” says Margie Black, a member of the Board of Directors for the league.
Regardless of their disability, the league gives the players a chance to be a part of a team, aiming to make them feel like anyone would playing baseball.
“It makes me feel like I’m going to do good in this world,” says Smith.
Each player has support during the game, a buddy helping and cheering them on. The crowd goes wild when Chester, a blind man, is up to bat. A special "beeper ball" allows him to make contact with the ball before rounding the bases with his buddy.
“As a parent you come out here and you watch one of these ball games, it’s going to change your heart. There’s nothing but love in the field, nothing but love in the stands and the smiles and the excitement that you see on the faces of these kiddos and young people playing, it’s just the best,” says Black.
Despite the competition, even when he’s on defense, Nathan is rooting for every player. As he’s playing first base, he high fives the other team players as they come in.
For the “Bone Crusher,” it’s just another day playing ball.
There will be games every Saturday morning for the next 5 weeks. The Miracle League is always looking for volunteers to be buddies during the games. To get involved visit: http://joplinmiracleleague.org/

 

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