Spring registration begins for Miracle League of Valdosta
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - The Miracle League of Valdosta is a community-based sports program for all individuals with intellectual, developmental, mental and/or physical disabilities. The organization allows them to play accessible team sports at an affordable cost, or for free.
“We now have invested $1.6 million into a mondo surface that’s handicap accessible. The dugouts are handicap accessible, the bathrooms.” Andy Gibbs, the founder of The Miracle League, said. “Everything we’ve done, we’ve done with the guidance of what our kids and our adults need to make sure that they experience a good, safe place to play.”
JP Mullis is an athlete with the Miracle League of Valdosta who is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. He loves to dance and doesn’t let his disability hinder him from playing sports. He has his own tunnel when he runs out to bat and hypes the fans up with his “JP Experience.”
“This is known as Winnersville here. Kids grow up with sports.” Lorna Mullis, the mother of JP, said. “It brings a lot of joy to us. We take a lot of videos and send them to his siblings who are all over the country — and they get to celebrate also with us. JP has a reputation of the “JP Experience” -- where he will actually run around to all of the crowd and get the hype and on their feet before he goes up to bat.”
The Miracle League of Valdosta is inviting you and your family to support these athletes at their first games of the spring season. The first youth game will be on March 7th and the first adult game on March 9th.
“Come try out a game. See if they like it. If they like it, fantastic, we’ll sign you up. If they don’t like it, not a problem. We’ll try again next season,” Gibbs said. “It’s a humble experience to be able to be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”
Children and adults with disabilities deserve to be able to participate in sports just like everyone else.
The Miracle League of Valdosta has been expanding sporting opportunities to children who endure many different disabilities for almost 10 years now. Something many say is a humbling experience.
Gibbs says the athletes get around others who function like them and really have a ton of fun.
“We’ve got a lot of kids that show up and their parents go, ‘He or she is shy, and they don’t really want to be around folks.’ And then all of a sudden the mother or the father comes back and goes, ‘Well, I’ve never seen that side of my child,” Gibbs said.
“Everybody has gifts. They just open them at different times and in different ways. This is an opportunity for them to get to unwrap their athletic abilities,” Mullis said. “Just a place where people with special needs and their families can come feel safe and protected.”
The Miracle League of Valdosta has its very own field. It incorporates five to six different sports accessible to children and adults of all disabilities.
“When you see these kids and these adults that are laughing and playing and joking and life is just fun through their eyes, it’s just a different atmosphere,” Gibbs said.
Registration for the Miracle League is now open. You can register online for only $25, or you can apply for free registration through a Greater Valdosta United Way grant.
The cost covers the team jersey, team photo, and medallion. They also provide water, bats, helmets, and gloves if needed at each game.
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