Living a Dream in the Miracle League

Living a Dream in the Miracle League

Danielle Lippert, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“A non-profit organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges…an opportunity to play baseball as a team member, with real uniforms, in organized leagues regardless of their capabilities.”

The Miracle League organization is not an unknown to students at Notre Dame. In fact, to many students it is a way to get their Social Justice service hours in, but it has been so much more than that to me.

Although I started the Miracle League the summer before my sophomore year for the one reason of finishing my hours before school started, I never realized I would fall in love with the program and the kids as much as I did.

My first summer of Miracle League I was just a team substitute. Whenever a kid’s buddy was gone, I filled in for them. The kids have such a connection with their buddies that sometimes they weren’t too happy that I was filling in for them.

Matthew was one of the players on my team. My coach and buddy coordinator didn’t really know who his buddy was supposed to be, so I would fill in for him every time he made it to a game.

Once Matthew got comfortable with me, he was a really sweet kid. At first he didn’t want to talk to me, as many of the kids are the first few games. Before I knew it, Matthew was talking to me about his family, his favorite singers and everything in between.

This summer I was given a new buddy I plan on being with until he ages out of the league at 19 or decides he doesn’t want to do it anymore.

Carter was quiet the first three games. He’d occasionally ask me questions about how the game worked, and I’d explain it to him.

As we went on with the season, Carter opened up to me more and more as I asked him questions about his family and what he did outside of Miracle League.

Carter told me he had one brother, one sister and a twin brother. I never realized that the boy that came to every game of Carter’s was his twin.

It reminded me of a girl I had helped the summer before. While Grace was in a wheelchair, her twin was perfectly fine. The same was with Carter and his twin.

I wasn’t supposed to play my old team this last season. I was asked to substitute for a game earlier in the week than mine so I said I’d help out. It ended up that the team I was playing was my team from last year.

I was able to see all the kids that I played with the summer before. I was so happy to see that Grace was out of her wheelchair and now in a walker.

You don’t realize how much these kids appreciate you until you aren’t there. I only missed one game out of the many we played. The next game I asked him how the last week was, but he didn’t talk about it too much.

At the end of the game Carter’s mom pulled me to the side and explained what had happened the game I was gone.

Carter didn’t want to play. He wouldn’t run, he wouldn’t talk and, over all, he just really didn’t want to be there.

I had never seen Carter like that, and I hope I’ll never have to. Carter’s mom said she didn’t realize why he wasn’t being himself until she realized that I wasn’t there.

I wanted to tell Carter the week before that I wasn’t going to be there, but our game was rained out. I felt awful not being with Carter for that game. I never realized how much he appreciated me as his buddy.

You can see the connections between the buddies and the kids. The buddy coordinator said that there was rarely a time that a buddy and a player didn’t get along.

The Miracle League is an amazing program for kids who just want to play softball. At the end of every game, they play the Miracle League song.

I had never really listened to the lyrics. One night, my mom told me to look it up and listen to the lyrics.

“Baseball is great and I wanna play it so much, but it’s hard for me. Sometimes it can be too tough. I’d give anything just to come up to the plate and swing,” says the Miracle League song.

The song continues to say how there’s a new program that allows them to play baseball.

“It’s a miracle to me, I’m playing baseball, It’s a site to see.”

This program is so important to the kids who are in it. It gives them a chance to do something that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. I’m so honored to be a part of it.

The Miracle League has had such an impact on my life. No matter what my mood was before the game, I was always happy playing baseball with my buddies. I’m so excited for my many years to come playing with my Miracle League team.

“Looks like I’m living a dream, because I’m playing on the Miracle League.”