UNION COUNTY — Would you like to be a “buddy” to a player of the Miracle League of Union County?
The Miracle League of Union County has registered a total 65 players who will play on its seven baseball teams during its 2017 season which gets under way this month. Each player, however, needs a “buddy” and while many have signed up to be buddies to the players more are needed.
What is a buddy? What do they do? The answers to those questions are provided in the following statement issued by Miracle League of Union County Director Amy Austin which also explains what the Miracle League does.
“The Miracle League of Union County removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime,” Austin said. “But it’s more than playing a game. The Miracle League is about making new friends, building self-esteem and being treated just like other athletes. To help the athletes, the Miracle League uses a ‘buddy’ system — pairing each player with an able-bodied peer. The result is a bond that cannot be described.
“Being a Buddy is about ensuring the safety of the players and creating an inclusive environment for the player and other buddies,” she said. “This inclusive environment is built around respect, trust and compassion. The game of baseball is about being part of a team and having fun. The support, encouragement and enthusiasm of our buddies make this all possible for our players.”
Austin also provided “a few helpful rules to follow while being a Buddy.” Those rules are:
1. Protect the player at all times.
2. Assist your player by holding their hand, pushing their wheelchair or leading them in the game.
3. Always allow the Miracle League Player as much freedom to play his/her own game.
4. Each buddy will be assigned to one player.
5. Ensure your player has fun — give your player lots of encouragement and cheers.
6. Arrive at the Miracle Field 15 minutes before each game.
While many have already signed up to be buddies, more are needed, and persons interested in being buddies should visit The Miracle League of Union County Facebook page for information about becoming a buddy as well as other up-to-date information about the MLUC.
In her press release, Austin said that the MLUC would like to thank those who have already signed up to be buddies for this season’s players.
“We would like to thank the following Buddy Groups for making the commitment to be at their scheduled game,” Austin said. “Without them, our players cannot play the game they love and their parents can’t sit in the stands and enjoy seeing their child do something that many were told they would never be able to do. This is an opportunity for everyone to have fun; from the players and buddies to the coaches, parents, fans and other volunteers. Thank you.”
Those Buddy Groups are:
• Union County High School Football
• Jonesville Elementary Staff
• Union County High School Track
• Monarch Elementary Staff
• Union County High School Future Farmers of America
• Union County High School Basketball
• UCHS Interact Club
• UCHS Year Book Staff
• Union County Sheriff’s Office
• Sims Middle School
• Sonoco Plastics
• City of Union Utilities
• Putnam Church
• Union Medical Center
• Harper General Contractors
• Mon-Aetna Baptist Church
• Milliken — Cedar Hill
• Lakeside Church
• Fairforest Baptist Church