Mattoid Entertainment is thrilled to announce our next feature project; in partnership with The Miracle League and the Los Angeles Parks and Rec Department, Mattoid and it’s partners will develop and build the FIRST Miracle Field in Los Angeles, CA.
In 1997 Rockdale Youth Baseball Association’s coach Eddie Bagwell invited the first child with a disability to play baseball on his team; Michael a 7 year old child in a wheel chair attended every game and practice, while cheering on his 5 year old brother play America’s favorite pass-time. And in 1998, other children with disabilities were invited to play baseball on a typical baseball field within the baseball complex of the Rockdale Youth Baseball Association (RYBA). The players had expressed the desire to dress in uniforms, make plays in the field, and round the bases just like their main stream peers. The league began with 35 players on four teams that first year.
By the spring 1999 season, the league gained support and became a source of pride for all involved as participation grew to over 50 players. During that season, the magnitude of the need for such a program was recognized. It was learned that there are over 75,000 plus children in Metro Atlanta with disabilities, most not being able to participate in team sports. That is when the dream of building a unique baseball complex for these special children was conceived. The Miracle League was formed and became a reality that all children should have the chance to play baseball.
Under the leadership of Dean Alford, the Rotary Clubs of Rockdale County and Conyers stepped forward to form the Rotary Miracle League Fund, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 organization. The new organization had two objectives: (1) raise the funds necessary to build a special complex with facilities that meet the unique needs of the Miracle League players, and (2) assist in the outreach efforts for Miracle Leagues across the country.
With the help of community volunteers and corporations, the design and construction of the first Miracle League complex was underway. The complex would include a custom-designed field with a cushioned rubberized surface to help prevent injuries, wheelchair accessible dugouts, and a completely flat surface to eliminate any barriers to wheelchair-bound or visually impaired players. The design also included three grass fields, which could be converted to the synthetic rubber surface as the league grew. In addition, accessible restrooms, a concession stand, and picnic pavilion were included in the design
The first of its kind Miracle League Field broke ground on December 31, 1999 and The Miracle League complex was completed in April 2000. On opening day, the Miracle League rosters had grown to over 120 players. The players raced around the bases and chatted with their teammates in the dugouts as they celebrated. Nicholas Slade, a player who had been in a coma just a week before, threw out the first ball.
The publicity from these media events, coupled with positive word of mouth, raises awareness among the families of children with special needs and allows the Miracle League Association to take the program across the country.
Presently there are 250 Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico, Canada and our newest member in Australia. The Miracle League is proud to serve over 200,000 children and young adults with disabilities.
Our goal is to offer this program to every city in the country so children, young adults and adults alike with special needs around the globe will have this same opportunity to play baseball. The Miracle League believes;
“Every Child Deserves A Chance to Play.”
Stay tuned for more info on the field and the accompanying film!
For more information on The Miracle League visit http://www.miracleleague.com