Sunday, September 27, 2015

Play Ball!

It's funny how things pop up out of no where, but are exactly what you're meant to do/experience.  

As you might recall, Gus (and Hugh) played soccer this past spring. He was eager to play, but didn't quite understand the rules of the game and would throw a tantrum each time someone took the ball from him. He's got natural skills, but when it comes to applying those skills in a game setting, he was not able to do that.

I had thought about signing him up for tee-ball or baseball, but a friend told me that it's super hard for some kids to stand in the field and wait until a ball comes their way. The thought of Gus being bored, led me to think he's not ready for baseball or tee-ball this year.

So, we had no intentions of starting any fall sports with him. We had been on a break from karate and were ready to head back, and didn't want to have anything extra on his plate, as now that he's in kindergarten, there's homework and more expectations.

He brought home an info sheet from school at the end of August. The sheet was from the North Metro Miracle League and said they do baseball/softball/tee-ball for kids in kindergarten up to adults. The NMML is a group for special needs kids and adults and they provide a safe environment for special needs kids to play and learn the rules of baseball.

The fall league would be starting in September and it was $45 for him to play and would include a shirt and hat. I emailed the man in charge and he replied back and asked me to call him. So I did, and he asked a little about Gus. I was mainly concerned that Gus wasn't "special" enough to qualify for their league, but the man (John) reassured me that they're all very well aware that special needs kiddos all look and act differently. He said with Gus's IEP and having SPD, he'd more than qualify to participate and he said he'd love to have Gus join.

I honestly cannot put to words how the phone call made me feel. When I hung up, John said, "Welcome to the family!" It was such a kind thing to say, and it made me feel so hopeful and excited for Gus. Each player is assigned a buddy and that person is on the field with them and helps them with batting and fielding. The buddies are volunteers and some are retired military, some are retired athletes, and some are teens and college students.

We had his orientation at the beginning of the month and he got his shirt and hat, and then last week, we had his first game. I'm not going to lie, I totally cried. There were cheerleaders that were cheering for the kids, and to see the kids out there playing and just having a great time, was truly magical.

Gus and his buddy Jason

Hewy watching
It was his first time at bat!

Eeeek!!! Batter up!!

I totally cried watching him hit!!

He did a great job!!

At this time I went to the car because I had food poisoning and could hardly sit up anymore

Steve got a great shot of Gus in the dugout

End of the game

I'm sad that I only got to watch 1/2 of his first game, but I was so sick. 

We had planned on going to the apple orchard yesterday, and didn't think we'd make his game this week, but there was rain and we deiced to stay home instead. We were able to go to his game, but it was raining so they called it. However... they decided to let the kids run around and hit anyway, and it was so much fun!!

Loving the rain!

Batter Up!!

They even let Hugh play!! He was so excited to get to go out and play with the big kids!!

How cute is he?!?!?!

That smile says it all!

We feel so blessed to have found the NMML. I can't express how amazing everyone is. There are kids of all ability levels out there playing, and the coaches and volunteers go above and beyond to include everyone, and to make everyone have a great time. It truly warms my heart to be around such a caring group of people.

Gus is so lucky to be able to be around kids of all abilities and to see past a wheelchair, or to see that someone is worth more than an outward appearance might suggest. While it's been challenging at times for me to accept that he does have special needs, it's more important that he is getting his needs met, and he's happy and successful. I'm learning more from him than I ever thought possible.

We love the field that Gus plays on each week. It's an adaptive field that was built for the NMML and is great for kids in wheelchairs. You can read more about it on their website!


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