Nearly 54 million Americans have a physical, sensory or intellectual disability, according to the National Organization on Disability. Diamond Dreams of Neshoba County was created to give local special needs children a baseball league of their own. Now they have their own field to play on too.
For Michele Maxey, baseball season means much more than game day. As a mother to a special needs child, she said it’s a dream come true.
“I was approached by some parents who said I think we need a league for our children and we just kind of went from there. We went from 11 players. Last year we had about 60 and this year we have about 48 signed up so far,” said Maxey.
Since 2010 Diamond Dreams teams have played on regular fields, but this year they have a field built, especially for them. Diamond Dreams organizer, Maxey said the new field will greatly impact the players, including her son, Hayes, who is autistic and blind.
“My main reason is my little boy. He’s 17, Hayes. He’s my number one reason for being out here,” said Maxey.
The new field was made possible by several local sponsors, fundraising and a whole lot of determination and hope. Maxey said it was built with special needs kids in mind.
“The rubberized turf area, that is the big thing that just makes it easier for the walkers and the children who already have problems walking, it makes it easier for them. The dugouts specifically are bigger than normal because if you pull a wheelchair into the other ones that’s about all the room there was,” said Maxey.
Maxey said the Field of Dreams is a blessing to all involved in the organizations. She also said it’s a great opportunity for the whole community to get involved, by budding up with a player who might need a little extra help making it around the bases.
“It’s interesting to see both sides of that. Our children think it’s so cool to have somebody helping them. It also gives other children who look at my son and others and when they see them in school they realize that they just need a little extra help and they’re fun to be around,” said Maxey.
For Maxey the field of dreams is no longer just a dream. It’s a reality.
If you are interested in signing up for diamond dreams this season, here’s what you need to know. The organization covers Neshoba, Winston, Kemper, Leake and Newton counties. Players are ages 4 to 17. Message Michele Maxey on Facebook or give her a call at 601-416-5913.