MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WDTN) – Athletes take to a field in Middletown to enjoy America’s pastime.
They are not equipped with the newest cleats, most expensive bats, or the hottest gloves.
But a chance to play under the lights with a few of their peers is better than anything money can buy.
“It’s exciting,” said Deborah Johnston, grandparent of one of the athletes. “The kids love it. They have a ball.”
They play on a field no bigger than the base paths.
But to the all-stars on the field, it is as big as their dreams.
Children with disabilities are getting a chance to experience the big league treatment. Some also have their own fan base cheering for them.
“Everybody knows him,” said Johnston of her grandson Xavier Johnston. “Even at school. And the girls like him.”
Xavier, who will be going into the tenth grade, plays shortstop for part of the game. His grandmother says it is all he talks about during the week.
It is a love for the game that has brought this community together to give everyone a chance to play.
“It all started about 11 years ago to give kids a chance to come out here and do what all the other kids do,” said Todd Gomia, one of the coaches.
Dream Catcher Field in Middletown is the first field in Ohio to be made specifically for handicapped use. The field is aptly named for the opportunities it gives the athletes who play on it.
From the coaches to the fans, it is more than competition.
They are hoping to give the kids a chance to be a kid. It is an opportunity sweeter than any victory.
“Just because you think you’re having a bad day, then you come out here and these kids are having fun and just enjoying life,” said Gomia. “No disabilities out here. That’s the way I see it.”
Gomia said he hopes more handicapped accessible fields are built across the state. He is hoping to take the players on the road to share the game they love.