Last week the Moody Miracle League held its 10-year celebration.
As first Miracle League field in the state, Moody helped pave the way for hundreds of athletes to be able to compete and better their lives.
“I think we’re doing a great thing,” League Director Mary Chambliss said of the continuing efforts to better the lives of its participants.
The Miracle League is a charitable organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league.
There is something about playing the game of baseball that lights up a youngster’s eyes, but for children facing mental and physical challenges, that opportunity can be often a difficult first test. The Miracle League gives its players the opportunity to get out in the sunshine and enjoy the game of baseball in its purest form.
The Moody league serves children in the St. Clair, Etowah, Jefferson, Shelby, Talladega, Blount, and Calhoun counties. It will host a World Series on June 22.
It is also the only league that does other events with the players all year long. Chambliss said going bowling, fishing or holding sock hops are just some of the activities the players get to enjoy when they are not on the diamond together.
“I feel like we’re an extended family not just baseball players,” Chambliss said.
There are 10 fields in Alabama with an eleventh currently being built in Hoover.
Moody played Gardendale last weekend. So far it has had 170 players participate with the youngest being 18-months old and oldest at 67.
“I think that’s a another things that stands out in our league,” Chambliss noted. “We have no age limits; anybody can play with us. That goes back to the early intervention. The earlier you can get the kids involved the better off they’ll be in the long run.”
There are 13 players that have been at Moody from beginning. They each received certificates last Saturday for their participation.
Chambliss talked about the community, which has done so much for the league over the years.
“If it wasn’t for the volunteers and the community in Moody we wouldn’t have a ball field. There are many unseen angles who have given so selflessly. It is a great community and they’ve given so much. It takes a whole community to raise a child and that’s what they’re doing, they’re doing, helping us to raise them.”
There are many stories of hope and encouragement for those who take part in the Miracle League.
Two years ago the players traveled to Tallahassee for the Miracle League World Series.
After the party after the last game one of the mothers told Chambliss how wonderful it was and that for the first time she had seen her son smile in a long time or get up and walk, “which was a big deal for him,” Chambliss said. “That was first she’d seen him do that in a long time.”
Even Chambliss said her own story is a testament to the Moody program.
She was living in Tennessee and wanted her 10-year-old son to play baseball. The league told her he was too large to play. He was wearing men’s-sized clothes at the time.
An Internet search lead her to call Phillip Deason, who is one of the most instrumental people in getting Moody’s league to where it is today.
He told her her son could play, but noted that Moody was some distance away from where they were living.
“I don’t care, I’ll go to the end of the earth for my child,” Chambliss told him. “I contribute the Miracle League for saving his life—for letting him run and be active and play as much as he likes.”
To contact the Miracle League, you may call Mary Chambliss at 205-225-9444