Miracle League creates learning, understanding

By Derik Vanderford dvanderford@civitasmedia.com

April 27, 2014

UNION COUNTY — Those who have participated in The Miracle League of Union County’s inaugural season say the league is beneficial to the entire community.

One person whom The Miracle League of Union County (MLUC) has given an opportunity to play sports in Union for the first time is 11-year-old Rylee Harris. While Harris has been able to play sports such as basketball and track through the Special Olympics in the past, she has had to travel out of town to play.

Rylee’s mother, Kim Scofield, said she is thrilled there is finally an activity like MLUC in Union County.

“I think it’s great — something we’ve needed around here for a long time,” Scofield said. “As a parent of a child with special needs, I’m very grateful. Rylee is good at baseball, and she’s competitive. This is the best thing she’s been involved in, in Union, in a long, long time.”

Scofield said watching her daughter play is exciting.

“At first, you’re just so thankful, and then you get to sit back like a regular parent and watch your kid play baseball,” she said. “For a lot of us, this is the first time we’ve gotten to enjoy our kids playing games like other parents do.”

Scofield said it’s impossible for her to say enough good things about MLUC. Her 14-year-old daughter, Juliette, enjoys participating as a “buddy,” helping players throughout the games.

“The buddies are learning a lot from this, too,” Scofield said. “It breaks down a lot of stigmas about disabilities. It makes (young people who are buddies) realize, ‘Hey, these kids are just like me.’ Rylee may lack communication skills, but she’s not just a kid with a disability — she’s Rylee.”

Scofield said the great thing about the MLUC buddies is that parents who work hard with their children finally get the opportunity to sit back, enjoy the game, meet other parents and trade stories. She said the MLUC is beneficial to the entire community as it helps create a lot of learning and understanding.

“I think everyone should go and watch a game,” she said.

Rylee plays for a team sponsored by Buffalo Pawn & Gun, which is owned by her grandmother, Vicki Morgan. Morgan’s brother, Dennis Crisp, also plays for the team sponsored by Rippys in the MLUC adult division. Morgan is the team mother for that team.

Morgan said each MLUC player is extremely special.

“Once people get to know them and see them, they will get to see how special they are,” Morgan said.

Morgan also praised the efforts of Amy Austin, MLUC board chair, and the entire board.

“Amy and the board have done more than anyone in Union County in a long time,” Morgan said. “They are touching so many lives. When they’re doing something for Rylee or Dennis, they’re doing something for my entire family. I’m sure that’s the way it is for everyone there.”

Morgan said the best thing about MLUC is that it reminds spectators that life is wonderful.

“They are reminding everybody in the stands what life is all about — enjoying life,” Morgan said. “They (the players) hit the ball and run to first base, and that’s the best thing ever.”

Morgan also said she believes everyone could benefit from watching a MLUC game.

“Life is a gift, and we forget that sometimes,” she said. “You watch them (MLUC players) and you will remember.”