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Miracle League DFW Helps Children’s Baseball Dreams Come True
By Mark Fadden
Posted on March 26, 2018, March 26, 2018

Opening Day for the 2018 Miracle League DFW was this past Saturday at the Doug Inman Miracle League Field in Arlington's Randol Mill Park.

Special needs children of all ages and all abilities got to chance to don major league baseball uniforms and enjoy a day in the sun while their parents cheered them on from the stands. Matt and Amanda Cobb have been doing just that for their 8-year-old son William since he was 3.

"The Miracle League does an excellent job making sports accessible to children with special needs," Amanda Cobb said. "It gives them the opportunity to enjoy the game."

Catherine Carlton, whose 9-year-old son Scotty is on William's team, talked about how much her son enjoyed being on the field.

"He gets so excited to get up to bat. The best part for him is the applause from the fans," Carlton said.

Doug Inman Field is named after the late Doug Inman, who had an idea for building this field of dreams back in 2004.

"My dad was watching a news program about a specially designed field that had been built for special needs kids up north and wanted to bring something like it to Texas," said Inman's daughter Bonnie Roden, who, along with her husband Tripp, are 2018 Miracle League Board Members. "With help from the Texas Rangers and other local sponsors to provide the funding and the City of Arlington, which donated the land for the field, Dad's dream came to fruition."

The field is made of a cushioned rubber material that's completely level so that the kids can easily run, walk, or move in a wheelchair from base to base. For many of these players, it's their first time being able to play baseball. "Buddies" help them bat, go from base to base, and play their positions. Coaches organize the teams, manage practices, and help players learn about the game of baseball.

League volunteers try to make it as authentic an experience as possible, with real MLB player uniforms and having the players name announced as they come up to bat. For blind players, there's even a ball that beeps to help them locate it. Currently, approximately 300 local special-needs children play on Saturdays during the six-week seasons in the spring and fall.

"The field has lights and we do have the ability to play during the week, so there's still plenty of room for more players and volunteers," Roden said.

Speaking of volunteers, Meagan Hall, a 12-year-old who made the trip up from Midlothian, is one of the many volunteers that donated their time and energy to make this event unforgettable.

"This is my second year being a Buddy and I love it. I play on a softball team that practices in Arlington. Our coach told us about this event and I thought it would be fun to be a part of it. It's been an amazing experience, and I'm going to keep on doing it next season," Hall said.

For Grace Whetstone, the Miracle League DFW Executive Director, volunteers like Hall are at the heart of the Miracle League DFW.

"We've got 700 spots needed to be filled by volunteers each season. Our Buddies, coaches, and the rest of the volunteers make it possible for parents to be able to sit in the stands and enjoy watching their kids play baseball," Whetsone said. "It's a way for our special needs kids to get a chance to do what millions of other kids do every weekend. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday."

For more information on Miracle League DFW, and to become a volunteer, visit www.miracleleaguedfw.com.

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