The Role of Buddies

One of our amazing players! Such a bright spot on our Saturdays!
One of our amazing players! Such a bright spot on our Saturdays!

People often think their child can’t play on our league because they aren’t the kind of kid who can play in an organized league.

That is a common misconception.

The Miracle League of Blaine accepts ALL children (between the ages of 3-21) with special needs. The reason we are able to do this is because we utilize buddies. Each child is paired with an able bodied child or adult volunteer we refer to as buddies. Buddies make sure to keep our kids safe and engaged in the game. Buddies are so important to our league! They are the glue that holds our games together.

Having buddies for each child enables the parents to enjoy a bit of “normalcy” by sitting in the stands and cheering on their kids.

I know – I was skeptical at first, too. My¬†family’s first game at a Miracle League field was in 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky. I was not sure we would be able to participate because my son was barely walking on his own at age 7, but we pushed ourselves to show up for the first game. When we first got to the game there were kids everywhere! Some were in wheelchairs, some in walkers. Others were walking and running the bases on their own.

There were kids who needed full assistance with batting and getting around the bases (like my son) and then there were kids who were heavy hitters and running the bases like pros. My family learned a lot about acceptance at that field over the 6 years we played there. I’ve tried to bring what we learned there and what we learned at the home office in Atlanta to the Blaine field.

Buddies with Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League, Cincinnati Reds Team
Buddies with Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League, Cincinnati Reds Team

The Buddy’s Role

Buddies help our kids enjoy the game¬†but they also allow parents to enjoy getting to know the other parents of players. This makes us a community. As parents of kids with special needs, we can sometimes feel very alone and lonely. I made some of my best friends at the Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League in Lexington. Having those parents who know what you’re going through, who can lend a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on, is something really special.

But here’s the thing: Not only are the buddies helping our families, we are helping THEM! They get to know our kids and see them as just regular kids. The effect our kids have on them will last a lifetime. We are helping future husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, community leaders, business people, and members of society understand that our kids just want to be accepted and seen for who they are. Please, consider using a buddy for your kid this season. If it would help you, show up a few minutes early and teach your child’s buddy a little bit about them.

This season our buddies will be from the Blaine Area Traveling Baseball Association.

We will not turn any child with special needs away from playing on our field.

If you have any questions or concerns about whether or not your child can play, please give us a call or email one of our board members.

Looking forward to an amazing 2017 Major League Season!

~Brandy Eckman
President and Co-Founder
Miracle League of Blaine

P.S. Take a look at the gallery below to see the joy of both players and their buddies!