NORMAL, Ill. — It started ten years ago with 12 players.
Now the Miracle League of Central Illinois, which gives kids with special needs the opportunity to play a weekly baseball game, has over 100 players. And twice as many volunteers.
“Our kids were little when they started playing but it’s great to see all the different ages that come out,” said Michele Kinley, who’s two children are Miracle League regulars. “Crazy number of volunteers from their schools and they get to meet volunteers from all over town withe different agencies, too.”
Her son Kurt has been playing in the Miracle League since its inception.
“It’s fun being here,” said Kurt Kinley. “With the crowd, with friends, my family. I love it.”
About ten Sunday’s a year, Uncle Bill’s Miracle Field is filled with smiles and laughter, hits and runs, and volunteers who can brighten a rainy day for the Miracle League players.
“Not only is it businesses and churches but it’s soccer teams and baseball teams, the entire community has gotten involved,” said volunteer Tim Barnes, the league announcer.
Barnes, Tracy Patkunas and the late Bill Wright helped launch the Miracle League of Central Illinois is 2009. The field is named after Wright, the former owner of Uncle Bill’s Self Storage.
“I always say, give it a shot because you will be back,” said volunteer coach Matt Harr. “You get a lot out of it also.”
This Sunday, the league will conclude its 2019 schedule at its field located behind the Corn Crib. Games are played at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
“It’s a time when our kids can just come out and have fun, be themselves and make a new friend or find a friend they have made as their buddy every game before,” said Michele Kinley. “They get to come and be themselves.”
To volunteer, click on the Miracle League website link: https://www.miracleleagueci.com/.