Miracle League DFW to Celebrate New Handicap-Accessible Pavilion

The Miracle League DFW's season starts September 22.

The Miracle League DFW’s season starts September 22.

When Miracle League DFW opens for the season on September 22, families will have something extra to celebrate before the first pitch is thrown.

After several years of fundraising and hard work, Miracle League, an organization that provides opportunities for children with disabilities to play baseball, will be unveiling a covered, handicap-accessible pavilion adjacent to Miracle League Field in Arlington’s Randol Mill Park.

“Over the years, we always look to do more for our players,” said Grace Whetstone, Miracle League executive director. “We always want to do something, like new uniforms. But the structure stays there each and every season. It’s a place where teams gather.”

With HISTORYMAKER Homes as the title sponsor, and proceeds from Miracle League’s annual golf tournament from the last three years benefitting the pavilion, Whetstone is excited to show the community this new feature in the park.

In previous seasons, Miracle League teams would have to bring tables and chairs to set up if they wanted to gather before or after a game. By placing a covered, handicap-accessible pavilion near the field, teams and other visitors will be able to enjoy their time with a bit more ease.

“It will not only help our players, but people down at the park will have a place to gather,” Whetstone said. “You don’t have to find a tree, find shade, or a place that your wheelchair can get to.”

Cyndee Rowe’s son Mason has played with Miracle League DFW for the last four years, and she said she looks forward to having a space at the park that easily accommodates wheelchairs.

“I think most people think that parks are accessible, until they have a child or family member who uses a wheelchair or walker,” Rowe said. “There is nothing like wanting to spend a relaxing day at a park for a picnic and realizing that you have to navigate curbs and dirt. None of the tables are usually suitable for persons using wheelchairs. The pavilion is going to be a blessing.”

The pavilion, like the Miracle League Field, has been built on land that was donated by the City of Arlington. Miracle League funds the building of the structure, and then any visitors to the park are welcome to enjoy it. Whetstone hopes this partnership will help more families learn about who they are.

“It’s not just our story, it’s the city’s story,” Whetstone said. “We as a city understand the need that’s out there and we’re trying to fulfill that.”

Manuel Garcia did not know much about Miracle League when a friend asked him to check it out almost seven years ago.

“We had never done anything like it before and I was skeptical about fitting in,” Garcia said.

Now, Garcia is a coach and parent with the League, and he describes the people there as extended family.

“We’ve seen kids from three-year-olds to teenagers,” Garcia sad. “Some kids are very independent, and some are not very independent, but we’re all having fun together. We are teaching and learning baseball skills, but more than that, we are teaching (and learning) life skills: play fair, take turns, celebrate all of life’s victories, rules are there for a reason, and some rules can be bent a little.”

The fall 2018 season starts Saturday, September 22, and is open to everyone. Special guests for the day will include Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, members of the Arlington City Council, and Texas Rangers alumni. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the pavilion will precede the games, and the first pitch will be thrown by Nelson Mitchell of HISTORYMAKER Homes.

Whetstone says she’s looking forward to the opening of the new season and encourages anyone who hasn’t seen a game before to come and cheer on the teams.

“At the end of the day, you have to come out there,” Whetstone said. “It’s the most amazing thing to be a part of. A bad day is never a bad day.”

Visit miracleleaguedfw.com to view the fall schedule and learn more about Miracle League DFW.