Have you ever felt intense joy cheering on the first base line of your favorite team? What about when a beloved athlete scores big? On September 27th, our students had the chance to serve in a joyful environment with Miracle League, a baseball league for children and young adults with disabilities, and experienced all those stirring moments and more.
Among the host of opportunities we afford our students, serving the community is one of our favorites. It gives students and staff the chance to think outside themselves for a while, focusing more on the needs and fulfillment of others instead. Last year, Rogers Summit students assisted Miracle League and had a fantastic time. Creating a new tradition, we loaded up two vans and traveled south to Springdale for an evening of three consecutive Miracle League games.
While nerves and uncertainty started the evening, with students thinking “what exactly do I do?” and “what if I make a mistake?” the night quickly turned into a fun and nerve free way to serve. Students were matched with members of Miracle League teams, assisting them in running bases, hitting the ball and fielding. Others took turns as cheerleaders. At one point, four Bentonville High School students ran out to the stands to start “the wave” and a series of elaborate cheers. As they ran back to the first base line, a “victory tunnel” was formed for each batter to run to as they approached the base. They genuinely enjoyed strategically adding to the environment of the game. It was fantastic to see our 8th-12th graders step out of a comfort zone to aid in building laughter filled hours at the ballpark.
Courtney, an 8th grader from Pea Ridge who was matched with a young boy in a wheelchair during the first game, absolutely adored the chance to serve in this way. “The kid I got to help in a wheelchair, seeing him do it, it touched me. I want to do it again… Helping the kids who may not be able to do [baseball] without us is the best. Try it. Just Try it.”