Her mission is complete

Published 10:52 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

“My mission is complete.” That’s what I think every Saturday morning at the Fun Go Holler baseball park in Pelham while watching the Opportunity League games.

It’s amazing to watch these precious children run onto the field every inning like it’s the first time or last time they will ever get to play. Each time they hit the ball or cross home plate, the cheering is so loud it’s like being at a high school football game.

Parents are crying, volunteers are crying and the players don’t have a care in the world because finally, crowds of people are watching them do something they never thought they would have the opportunity to do — play baseball.

After only a week of promoting the Opportunity League, a special-needs baseball league, people in the community flooded us with phone calls and e-mails with questions on how they could be a part of this. I was surprised at all the different types of people that came forward; people that didn’t have children, well-known attorneys that work 80 hours a week, local business owners wanting to donate goods or services and parents of teenagers that wanted to volunteer. It was all because they wanted to be a part of something that would impact the lives of children with disabilities.

On Opening Day, I was watching the Opp League children take their team photos when Riley, a small 6-year old, walked up to me with the biggest grin on his face and said, “Thanks for letting me play baseball.”

There are no words to describe what that meant to me.

Riley, as well as the other 31 Opp League children and their families, will always hold a special place in my heart.

Even though my career in the nonprofit world has opened my eyes to people in our community that are in need, it took creating this special needs baseball league for me to truly understand what it means to give back and be a community partner.

There was no budget for the Opportunity League and we had no idea how to get it up and running, but through the kindheartedness of others and lots of blind faith, Saturday morning baseball at Fun Go Holler has changed more lives than just those of the children playing on the field.