Miracle League gave us our athlete backPublished 12:00am Wednesday, October 23, 2013
At the end of the Inaugural season for Covington County’s Miracle Baseball League, I felt a strong need to write a letter of thanks to the staff, volunteers, and donors that made the this Miracle League possible and sent a letter privately. Now that a fall season has been made possible, I feel the need to let the community know the gift of baseball my family and newfound friends have received can be shared by the masses each Tuesday night at 7 p.m. In fact, this past Tuesday, my daughter had the privilege to watch her brother, Brandon (BK) play ball for the first time since 1985, via the Internet. She was only 17, he was 9, we lived in Opp, she now lives in Hawaii, Life was simple in the summer of 1985, but by the fall it would get very complicated for our little family; as it is for many families that meet on Tuesday night to watch the Angels vs. the Braves.
My family did not know anything about the Miracle League until about a week before the inaugural season started last spring An acquaintance told me about the league and thought it might be good for my son.
Since returning back to the mainland from Hawaii nearly two years ago, my son, BK, has been isolated from friends, peers, and family. BK’s brain, being left splintered due to a severe closed head injury at the age of 9, makes him rather unique, leaving him ranging between the 9-year-old boy he was at the time of injury to the 37-year-old man he is now. He spent much of his childhood in hospitals and rehabs learning to walk, talk, swallow and basically train new areas of his brain to do what old damaged areas could no longer do. Today, this process is called remapping. In 1985 this science was unheard of as we were in unchartedwaters. BK had not forgotten how to ride a bike or swing a bat, he retained procedural memory, his body would just not allow him to perform the act. However, he has problems with short term memory.
From 1985 until last spring he had not played baseball. He never forgot baseball; the love of his life. He was great at the sport prior to his accident. When he got onto the Miracle League field the day teams were to be assigned, each team member was asked if they wanted to attempt to swing the bat. Brandon nodded in excitement. When it was his turn, he went to the mound area and a tee was placed before him. He shook his head “no” and motioned for the pitcher to pitch to him. Brandon is a “see to believe” individual. His balance is not great. He does not walk with grace. The upper body wants to go before the lower body and he tends to fall. The tee was removed, the pitcher pitched, Brandon swung and missed. The pitcher threw the ball again and Brandon connected with the ball and slowly “ran” to first base. I was gobsmacked.
I did not in my wildest dreams know that he still had that ability. My son still had baseball in him. However, he has such will that he will push himself to achieve when most will give up. His drive is unbelievable. I had to remember what a doctor once told, “let Brandon be the one to set his own limits, medical science did not get him this far, his own will did.,”
BK was not expected to live, walk, talk, so we do him set his own limits; most of the time. So when it comes to what he can and cannot do physically, he sets his own limits. Now, when it comes to other things, Mom must intervene as he does not know limits. He wants to drive a car. He wants to join the military. BK does not see himself as having any limits and this is heartbreaking at times. However, I must say that during these weeks when he can “play ball” I see joy in my son’s eyes. He does not see much true joy in his life.
So, I would like to use this media to publicly applaud the volunteers, the donors, the staff, and the community for creating the Covington County Miracle League, not only for my son but for all the sons and daughters of this region that get to enjoy playing on this specially designed field on Tuesday nights during the seasons. I have no idea how much money it takes to maintain this sport, but I know we have a generous community. I know that my story is not the only one. I have witnessed other parents with thei rchildren experiencing the same emotions. The old cliche, “money can’t buy happiness” simply needs to beadjusted in circumstances like ours. Thank you does not seem adequate.
Cindy Harrison Boyd, M.S, BCBA