League hopes for many spectators for season-ender May 19
The parents of a child with Down Syndrome who helped organize a baseball league for people with disabilities have introduced a new vision for those athletes.
Tommy Lee and Lesa Kidd of Lawrenceburg formed the nonprofit Abigail’s Plan in honor of their daughter to raise an estimated $350,000 for a rubberized “Miracle Field.”
Lawrence County’s Challenger League, now called Buddy Ball, has grown from 11 athletes on two teams in 2009 to 59 on four teams in 2014. Players are residents of every community in Lawrence County, and three are from outside it.
“Playing on a regular baseball field is often difficult for many of our players,” said Tommy Lee Kidd. “We have players that require the use of wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches. Several players have issues walking as well. Pushing a wheelchair on dirt and grass can be a big challenge. If our field is the slightest bit damp, we cannot play our game.”
Fields built in cooperation with the Miracle League are in every state, said Kidd, and his family was extremely impressed with the “amazing” Miracle Field and Miracle Playground in Huntsville, Alabama.
Two trustees of the Joe and Hazel Kraus Human Development Foundation were at Monday night’s Buddy Ball games to present seed money for Lawrence County’s Miracle Field. Their $7,500 donation represents a challenge to other businesses and organizations to join the effort.
“Joe and Hazel Kraus loved Lawrence County, and especially loved the children of Lawrence County,” said David Allen. “(They) would have been particularly pleased to see the joy and courage of these Buddy Ball players.
“It is our hope that this gift will be a springboard and catalyst for other similar gifts which will make Abigail’s Plan a reality in the very near future.”
Trustees of the Foundation include Allen, Tim Pettus, Polly Marsh, and Sammy Beckman.
The last games of the 2014 Buddy Ball season are this Monday, May 19, and the community is asked to come out to support the players that evening, beginning at 5:15. The goal is to have 500 spectators cheering on the players who have found much more than recreation in the league.
‘Parent after parent has come to us with tears of joy in their eyes and explained to us how much a simple baseball game has helped their child and their entire family in all aspects of their lives,” Kidd said. “This simple game has given many of the participants much needed self-confidence that has helped them in their everyday life and something to look forward to in every week.”
Photo: Donating to a Dream- Board members of the Joseph F. and Hazel Kraus donation presented a donation Monday night to help build a rubberized field for Lawrence County’s Buddy Ball League. Pictured at front are players Abigail Kidd, Cheyenne Keeton, Leanne Barnett and Cydney Jones. At back are player parents Lesa Kidd, Jackie Fleeman, and Tommy Lee Kidd, and Kraus Foundation Board members David Allen and Tim Pettus. “This will set Lawrence County apart,” Pettus said. –HoJo Photo