In the 608: Miracle League making a difference on the diamond

COTTAGE GROVE, Wis. After years of hard work, a Miracle League baseball field is now open in Dane County.

The new field, located in Cottage Grove, is made of rubberized turf so kids with walkers and wheelchairs can easily play. Tuesday and Wednesday nights, kids of all abilities got a chance to do just that.

More than 60 years ago, Miracle League of Dane County‘s Executive Director Bill Schultz fell in love with the game of baseball. Eager to go up to bat at 9 years old, Schultz was told something no child wants to hear.

“They said, ‘We can’t let you play because you’re either going to hurt yourself with your prosthetic leg or you’re going to hurt somebody.’ So I went from exhilaration one night to devastation the next.”

Schultz was born with a right leg that had to be amputated shortly after birth and a left arm that didn’t develop.

Then, in 2018, Schultz said he watched a news segment that showcased the Miracle League in Tennessee. After seeing that a baseball field and teams were being created for kids with disabilities, Schultz knew that’s what he wanted to do for kids with disabilities in Dane County. After years of fundraising and building the field, he’s now making sure kids today never have to experience the heartbreak that he did for things he couldn’t control when he was a kid.

“It’s an activity that allows these kids to feel included, accepted, build their self-confidence and have fun,” Schultz said. “They realize that no boundary is defined. They can define their own.”

Every kid is paired up with a buddy who helps them maneuver around the field.

Organizers said close to 100 kids have already signed up to play.