Members of The Rotary Club of Edmond volunteer to be “buddies” for the baseball program – only to find they may benefit the most.
EDMOND, Okla – It’s a warm night in September and the boys (and girls) of summer are taking the field at Mitch Park in Edmond. It’s the Cubs versus the Red Sox and the stands are full of cheering fans – mainly parents and friends who’ve watched these teams play time and time again. 
There are runs, strikes, and outs like any typical game, but no matter the outcome, when the game is over, there’s always a win for both sides. It’s the Miracle League of Edmond. Everyone is a winner every time. 
Sheryl Evans and Dana Helton watch the Red Sox like they did 15 years ago, when their sons, Tyler, 22, and Matthew, 23, took the field for The Miracle League the first time. They can’t say enough how they appreciate the program and the opportunities it presents people with disabilities. 
“It’s getting to be outdoors, being around friends and being able to play a sport like a typical kid,” Evans said. 
The Miracle League is a baseball program for people with disabilities of all kinds partnering with The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma. Teams play on a custom, adaptive field instead of on grass, no one keeps score, and everyone bats twice in the two-inning game. But what everyone considers a highlight of play is that every player has a buddy alongside during the games. 
On this night, it’s the Rotary Club of Edmond on the field for a double header. Their roles are pretty simple. With gloves ready to help snag and stop balls, buddies help keep the play alive while encouraging players and protecting them from injury. 
“This is a real joy to watch these guys and girls let loose and have fun. The crowd is in the game and the moments we get to experience with the players are priceless,” said Anita Linet, one of the Rotary buddies. 
Mike Korenblit, who coaches the Cardinals South team which played in the second game of the evening echoed the sentiment. His son Josh, 37, is a longtime player who loves meeting new buddies. 
“All he does is talk about it as he plays in left field,” Korenblit said. “The reason our players like buddies playing with them is that they are showing them they can have fun like everyone else. What’s incredible is what the buddies get out of it.” 
Any Rotarian buddy will tell you that’s true. It’s more than serving the community and living up to the club motto, “Service Above Self.” Somehow, it turns out club members seem to benefit the most. 
“If people could see these kids for one 24-hour period, it would make the world a better place. Because these kids, no matter who they are, make people around them feel special,” Korenblit said. 
Everyone wins and miracles are always in play. 
Members of The Miracle League’s Cardinals South team celebrate a victory at Edmond’s Mitch Park. Every team wins every time in the YMCA baseball program for people with disabilities.
The Rotary Club of Edmond members pose after a night of being volunteer baseball “buddies” for The Miracle League of Edmond. For two decades, the YMCA program has supported people with disabilities.