OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - After three years of planning, groundbreaking, and much anticipation, it was time to play ball at The Miracle Field in Opelika Sunday. We've been following the organization's progress since plans began, and News Leader Nine got the inspirational story of the Miracle League from Opelika.
The stands were filled with fans, the weather was perfect, and it was time for the very first game of The Miracle League on their brand new field.
Miracle Field Chairman, Rob Cox told News Leader Nine, "It's amazing to have all the kids and parents here and see the smiles light up and just having fun on such a glorious day. We were afraid the rain would mess it up, but it hasn't."
Gunter Nawrocki, a Miracle League player described the game, "Basically, what we did is, we played baseball, but there's different rules. You'd expect a winner and a loser, right? Well in this game it's doesn't... Everybody gets to play and its great!"
Each player has a designated buddy that helps them catch, bat and run around the bases.
"With the new buddy system we have, it really made a difference because parents got to sit down and relax while the buddy got out there and worked. It had never been tried before," said one of the team coaches, David Shea.
With nearly 200 people cheering on the special needs players, Cox said the event was a success, "It's gone off without a hitch. Parents have loved it, kids have enjoyed it. Three years is a blip in time. We'd do it again."
And those three years of planning would have never been possible without the hard work of the community members.
"We appreciate the community standing behind the children and parents. It's a blessing to the whole community and we hope more players and parents will get involved as time goes on," Shea told News Leader Nine.
Cox added, "All the people that made this happen. It doesn't happen with 1 or 2 people, it takes a community, everybody. I guess what we want to say is: from the Miracle Field, thank you."
"I'm coming back the whole time probably!" exclaimed Gunter.