Betsy Ellingson, RLA
A few years ago, Seamon Whiteside + Associates was approached by a man who had a big dream: to build a very special baseball field…one that would not only require backstops and dugouts but also a heart to serve some of the most special and overlooked children in our community. That day, SW+A partnered with the newly organized Charleston Miracle League and in the fall of 2004, the CML field held its first game. The special rubberized surface and wheelchair friendly facilities have provided life-changing opportunities to hundreds of special needs kids since that day, with the numbers growing each year. ‘Miracle’ is the perfect description of what happens on the field every week – the joy the players express each time they cross home plate is contagious to everyone at the park. One parent describes what the League means to her daughter this way:
“Sarah was always her younger brother Stuart’s biggest cheerleader whenever he had baseball or soccer games. She loved encouraging him as he ran down the field or around the bases. At the same time, she longed to participate in a sport herself. Ever since a pontine stroke following a brain tumor when she was five, she’d been confined to a wheelchair and left with limited movement in her extremities. Teachers and friends at school tried to include her in their schoolyard games, but most times the field wasn’t conducive to a wheelchair, and Sarah’s only option was to watch from the sidelines.
That all changed with the Charleston Miracle League. From the very first ‘Play ball!’ Sarah was all smiles as she was finally able to participate in a sport where the barriers were removed and the fans were cheering her on from the bleachers. The Miracle League provided a wheelchair friendly, top of the line field as well as jerseys, hats, coaches, and best of all, teammates. There are even team photos and awards at the end of each season, just like she’s watched her brother receive. For a child who could only watch and wish before, this was a dream come true.
If you ask her why she loves the Miracle League, she’ll say simply, ‘Because it’s fun.’ But really, it’s more than that. The Miracle League has provided for Sarah a place where she feels encouraged, validated, and loved. The brilliant smile she flashes as she crosses home plate tells it all.”
For more information about the Charleston Miracle League and how you can participate or support this wonderful organization, check out their website at www.charlestonmiracleleague.org .