This morning a bunch of crusty old South Carolina softball players, men ranging from mid-50s to nearly 90, played a game that meant nothing, except it meant everything.
A dozen or so members of the Myrtle Beach Senior Softball League took on a team from the Grand Strand Miracle League composed of kids with disabilities -- and were soundly beaten.
The score? I have no idea. Somebody said 29-9, or something like that. Sounds about right. We really weren't on our game.
The Miracle League team included both boys and girls of all ages, all with some disability or other. But one thing was certain. They played with heart and sheer joy, and for we seniors, it was a delight just to share the field with them.
I was playing second base, so I had a chance to kibitz with several of those players as they ran the bases. One big kid who had blasted a shot into left field for a double dove head first into second ahead of the throw from the left fielder.
Holding the ball in my glove, I reached down with my bare hand to help him to his feet. He shook his head and with a grin said, "Oh no, I'm not falling for that trick."
He actually thought I was trying to pull the hidden ball trick on him. What kind of useless human being would I be to do that?
"No," I said. "Just let me help you up."
He grabbed my hand and jumped to his feet. But he never left second base.
Smart kid. Wise beyond his years.
Another little girl tapped the ball past the pitcher and the shortstop fumbled it over to me. By the time I managed to toss it to first, she was safe.
"YES!" she yelled, thrusting her arms in the air. "YES!"
That actually was the highlight of my day.
The Grand Strand Miracle League began with the thought that parents of kids with disabilities should have the same opportunities to create treasured memories with their children as parents of typical kids.
Many parents’ dreams for their children are built around activities like dancing, music recitals, team sports and first trophies. Just because a child has a disability, those dreams don’t have to be surrendered. After all, kids who are disabled are kids first. They happen to have a disability, but when they are first treated and respected as children, fantastic things happen for them, their families and Miracle League Buddy volunteers.
The Grand Strand Miracle Leagues organization is dedicated to providing those with Special Needs this life-changing opportunity. Learn more about this wonderful organization here, and support it if you can.
It will make you feel great.