As parents, we all want our special needs kids to play and enjoy the company of other kids. We want them to try new things, discover new passions and perhaps share in some of the joys from our childhood. Like you, we are nervous to leave the sanctity of our home and venture into the public not knowing what we might encounter. Like you, group and team activities may not come easily or at all to our kids. That’s where the All-Play Miracle Baseball League comes in.
The All-Play Miracle Baseball League is one of the best organizations in Omaha that is wholly dedicated and steadfastly capable of providing a safe, shared environment where all our special needs kiddos can play, learn and grow together.
A few introductory things to know about All-Play:
- The All-Play Baseball league has two sessions each year, one in the Spring (April-June) and the other in the Fall (late July/August-September).
- Any special need kiddo is welcome, no matter their disability.
- Teams are made of kids from similar age groups.
- Team coaches are volunteers, most of whom have special needs kids of their own.
- No previous baseball experience is required to join.
- Uniforms and baseball hats will be provided.
Above all else, know this: Your kid will play baseball. No more concerns about where to go, what might happen or keeping your kiddos safe.
I’m sure you’re dying to know more about All-Play and what the games are like. So, without further adieu, let’s hit the highlights …
What is a baseball game with All-Play like?
Each game has 2 innings. Every player will go up to bat and play outfield in each inning. Every batter gets on base and gets to score. Volunteers and parents are encouraged to join the kiddos on the field and play along with them. If you’re not paying attention to what’s going on at home plate, not a problem. You’ll see plenty of kids and adults running around the outfield, playing catch and join the in-field play when possible. There’s even an announcer who will call your kiddo’s name over the loud speaker!
It takes about 1 hour to finish a full game with normal-sized teams. When it’s all over, there are plenty of activities around the ball park and a concession stand for you to enjoy. Parents, friends and family can watch games from the dugouts, bleachers or chairs adjacent to the fields.
A completely safe and inclusive environment
Above all, All-Play is a place where we are all in the same boat. Every kiddo who plays on a team has some special need. There are plenty of kids in wheelchairs or crutches. During games, you’ll see plenty of kids stimming, melting down as well as laughing and playing. It’s all good, and more importantly, it’s all accepted. If it takes a few minutes longer for a player to hit the ball or run a base, it’s not a stressful situation at all. It’s part of the game. In all the weeks that I’ve gone I have yet to see a single injury or accident or problem during a game. There is nothing but a patient, supportive environment where every kid gets their chance to play in whatever way they can and would like to.
Teams have 5-10 kiddos each. Like I said before, every kid will run the bases and score. When the last player goes up to bat, they automatically hit a Grand Slam and everyone left on base runs in. While each player is at bat, their team will cheer from their dugout. Sounds like a perfect baseball game, right? Even though each kiddo will participate as much as they like, the parents and many of the other kids will enjoy the team camaraderie and cheer enthusiastically for teammate and opponent alike.
Learn to Play Baseball
Sitting through a baseball camp or individualized coaching can be challenging for any special needs kiddo. At All-Play, the coaches, volunteers and parents all work together to teach the basics of baseball to every kid. Hitting, pitching, throwing, catching. Every aspect of the game is open and taught to your kiddo using nice large, yellow softballs that are easy to grip, throw and catch.
Did I mention the awesome volunteers?
Each week members from local baseball teams and other organizations will serve as volunteers for a game. They will pair a volunteer (usually a middle school or high school student) with a kiddo and have them play with them for the duration of the game. Each volunteer is prepared to work with special needs kids. Even if your kiddo isn’t interested in participating with a volunteer, they’re all still on the field cheering, playing and adding to the awesomeness of the game.
Yes, you can safely play outdoors!
In the early and late summer sessions, you’re sure to have great weather for Saturday morning games. Games start at 8:30 and run late into the afternoon. All the while, you’re outdoors, basking in the sun and the heat of the summer, just like any other baseball game. If it’s too hot, hit the water park. My son highly recommends the handicapped-accessible playground next to the fields. The All-Play Facility is a great way to get out of the house for a couple of hours.
You never know who will show up each week.
The organizers love to bring in local vendors, volunteers and other groups to entertain kids and families while you’re there. You’re likely to see superheroes, horses, zoo animals, Stormtroopers, local baseball players and even Santa Claus. It’s like having your own little carnival waiting for you after you’ve played your game.
What if my kiddo is in a wheelchair?
Not a problem. In fact, All-Play is the best place in town for kiddos in wheelchairs to play. Both baseball fields are 100% handicapped accessible, and the kids can round the bases and patrol the outfield with ease. The parking lot directly next to the facility has 30 spots dedicated to handicapped parking. The water park and playground are 100% handicapped accessible. All the kiddos and families who attend are appreciative of the needs for wheelchair-bound kids and adapt easily and kindly. Could you possibly ask for more?
We are your tribe.
Simply put, All-Play Miracle Baseball League is the best place for special needs kids to meet, play and interact in Omaha. There will be more than enough for them to see, do, play and touch every Saturday.
The ASD Clubhouse will continue to add upcoming events for All-Play to our Events Calendar and post new articles on the league.
I hope you’ll sign up today and give the League a try. You never know what passions or happiness you’ll unlock. After all, there is nothing like a summer day in the sun watching a baseball game.