It’s an annual tradition that many in and around the area pour their hearts into. The McComb Miracle League, which gives individuals with disabilities the chance to play baseball, just wrapped its sixth season on Saturday.
League director Addie Boone she is blown away by the response and the way that the league has grown over the years.
“This was a vision of Ronnie Wilkinson and he had the vision to start the Miracle League,” she said. “We’ve been six years into this and we started with less than 30 players and now we have 91 (and) over 200 volunteers. The community support has been unreal.”
This year’s event consisted of four games including the finale contest which pitted the higher functioning team, known as the Pirates, against the local celebrities. The Pirates continued their hot streak, walking away with another victory over the celebrities, bringing them immense joy.
And for Boone, the chance to see that joy that it brings to the players on every team and their families, is the biggest reward for her.
“I do this because I love it,” she said. “When I walk out here and I see the smiles on our players’ faces and their parents who are so excited to stand across the fence and take a picture of their kid playing on a team that they normally wouldn’t get to do, that is what I get out of it.”
She said a lot goes into the league to make it possible and to keep it going.
“It’s a lot of work and people don’t understand how much work goes into this, and the stress, especially with like checking the weather and seeing when we are going to get to play and making sure that we have enough volunteers,” Boone said. “But all of that is worth it when I walk out here.”
Boone has been in charge of the league for all six years of its existence and she admits that is more than what she thought it was going to be.
“I think that it is even bigger,” she said. “In the first year, we did not have a press box, we did not have a concession stand. Every Saturday morning, my husband and my son and I would cook hot dogs and hamburgers at home and put them in a Crock Pot. My husband and son would set up a tent and I would run back and forth between the tent and the field.”
She said that over the years more people stepped up to help and some are now members of the board.
Boone is thankful for the amount of people who step forward and volunteer their time for the program.
“It’s amazing. It’s very competitive now to be a volunteer with the Miracle League, because we have to turn down some volunteers,” she said. “It was too much of a good thing and it was taking away from the players and we are here for the players. That is our goal is that the players have a good time.”
Boone also thanked board members Sam Marsalis, Colleen Siebert, Linda Love, Carolyn Boone, Sara Doyle, Terri Barnes, Linda Coney Sherry McDaniel and Suzanne Lindsey for thier work this season.