With the summer sun high in the sky and the smell of fresh-cut grass in the neighborhood, it’s easy to get nostalgic about baseball.
From corner parks to Yankee Stadium, the crack of the bat sending players around the bases brings with it the excitement of America’s favorite pastime.
This year, there are some very special baseball games happening right here in Dubuque that have nothing to do with the major leagues. If you’re lucky enough to catch one of these games, there’s no doubt you’ll leave feeling good — no matter who wins.
After a year delay brought on by the pandemic, Miracle League of Dubuque field is once again ready to “play ball.” The all-inclusive ballpark at Veterans Memorial Park was designed and staffed to accommodate all levels and abilities. Games take place on a special, rubberized-surface playing field designed to accommodate children who use wheelchairs or other equipment, or who would benefit by this sort of venue.
This year, youngsters of all abilities can come to participate in camps to learn the basics. By fall, there will be an all-inclusive league playing games.
All this feels like a dream come true to the leaders who spearheaded the fundraising effort to build the field, Merle Santjer and Tom Witry. The $4.5 million Miracle League includes not just the baseball field but the coolest all-inclusive playground with equipment chair-like swings as well as a zip line.
Dubuque residents should be proud of the Miracle League field. That this community boasts such state-of-the-art equipment and provides an opportunity for all kids to swing for the fences, regardless of ability, is an amenity that greatly contributes to the quality of life. That it came about through a grass-roots volunteer effort with support from citizens as well as the City of Dubuque makes it truly feel like a community project.
There is more that citizens can soon do to help. Organizers are seeking volunteers to act as “field angels,” who can help players of differing abilities successfully swing the bat or run the bases as needed. For more information contact Janna Beau, recreation supervisor for the City of Dubuque, at email@example.com.
Congrats to Witry, Santjer and all the volunteers who helped make the Miracle League of Dubuque project a reality. You’ve made our community a more accessible and inclusive place for kids to grow up. Now, let’s play ball!