-899991bb83c6b374

Oxford’s ‘A League of Our Own’ dedicates field for special needs children

U.S. Paralympian Blake Leeper passed on a bit of advice he learned from his mother at the dedication for a new ball field in Oxford for special needs children.

“Life is 10 percent what you’re dealt,” he said, “and 90 percent how you deal with it.”

Behind Leeper, who took silver and bronze medals at the 2012 Paralympics, stood future Royals, Athletics and Braves who will make up the 10 teams expected to play at the “A League of Our Own” field, located in Oxford. Teams will compete on the field’s rubberized surface, perfect for wheelchairs and walkers.

Between 250 to 350 players are expected to use the field, where games should start in a week.

“Life is 10 percent what you’re dealt,” he said, “and 90 percent how you deal with it.”

“What you’ve done is huge,” Leeper told those who attended the dedication. “You’re not going to change one or two lives, but you’re leaving behind a legacy. This is only the beginning.”

Oxford’s “A League of Our Own” began four years ago when Ginger Monroe approached the city about establishing some kind of recreation for special needs children. The sport proposed was baseball, and the model was the Miracle League fields that have been constructed in cities like Moody.

Monroe’s niece Carly Pilkington, now 12, has been diagnosed with autism. As her mother Mercy explained, Carly was never left out of activities as a youngster. Sports were open to her in her early years, but as she grew older, and her peers began to develop, Carly’s avenues for participation began to thin out.

“Nobody ever said they wouldn’t let her try,” Mercy said. “But there was nothing at her level.”

For the new field, Oxford chipped in more than $500,000, while nearly that same amount was contributed in donations, in-kind services and other assistance

Ginger said when she first floated the idea of leagues for special needs children, many wondered if there would be enough for teams. But there were 18 children that first year, enough for two teams.

“That was an eyeopener,” Mercy said. “It made people realize these people are going to grow up in this community, and they’re going to be a part of it. And they need support. And there are a wide variety of needs.”

Now there are 107 players and 10 teams. As the program helps children with physical and mental disabilities, every player gets on base, scores and hits.

For the new field, Oxford chipped in more than $500,000, while nearly that same amount was contributed in donations, in-kind services and other assistance, Munroe said.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “The kids got something given to them. They didn’t have to fight for it. ”

Today, Carly helped dedicate the field, throwing out the first ball to her father Todd.

By: William Thornton Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *