"If I were to tell you about an organized youth baseball league, you might call it ordinary. If I were to tell you the athletes are physically and mentally challenged, you might call it touching. If you were to see them play, you would call it a miracle."
That is the precept of The Miracle League Association. Helping children with mental and physical disabilities play the game of baseball with the assistance of buddies, there are currently over 250 Miracle League Organizations across the country and over 200,000 children and young adults with disabilities participating in these leagues.
Last Saturday morning, three Bees players participated as buddies with two teams in Salt Lake's Miracle League. Outfielder Doug Deeds and right-handed pitchers Matt Meyer and Loek Van Mil took turns pitching, helping in the field and encouraging the youth as they made their way around the bases.
The kids were ready to play and full of enthusiasm. Deeds said, "Enthusiasm is a good word because they are living every day to the fullest. The kids are just out there playing the game and getting a lot of joy from it, doing things like running the bases and being part of a team."
After the game, each of the kids received a baseball autographed by the players and took pictures with the players.
"Most kids are shy and timid at first then they start to warm up and give you high fives and by the end they want you to sign some autographs. It's great seeing these kids out here," said Meyer. "It's great to see the kids' faces light up and it brings you back to when you were playing as a little kid. Those memories are forever so it's great to spend time with them."
For more information about the Miracle League visit miracleleague.com.