Search Iowa Barnstormers

News

BARNSTORMERS SPOTLIGHT: Miracle League

06/09/2016 9:00 AM -

BARNSTORMERS SPOTLIGHT: Angels in the Outfield
Iowa Barnstormers Learn to Play Ball

It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Every year since 2009, the Iowa Barnstormers have made it a point to visit the Kiwanis Miracle League and play baseball with some very special kids.

Under the motto "every child deserves a chance to play baseball," the Miracle League was develped by the Des Moines Kiwanis Club in the fall of 2008. The Miracle League consists of children ages five through 15 who have disabilites that prevent them from playing organized sports. They have games in the spring and the fall at the Kiwanis Miracle League ballpark, which is located in downtown Des Moines just west of Principal Park.

In the spring of 2009, Iowa Barnstoremrs head coach John Gregory met with current Kiwanis Miracle League President Jan Burch. "Coach Gregory said he really liked what we were doing and asked if sometime i twould be possible for the team to come down and help out," Burch remembers. "We were thrilled with the idea. We decided to make it an evening event outside of our regular schedule and allow the Barnstormers to buddy up and be our angels in the outfield with our players." 

Thus began a love affair between the Barnstormers and Miracle League kids. "The kids, when they saw the Barnstormers players, especially in their uniforms, went bonkers," says Bob Mitchell, a past President and now Treasurer of the League."The kids were grinning from ear to ear. Some of the Barnstormers picked up the players and carried them. Some would take their jerseys off and put them on the kids, with the jersey hagning down to their ankles."

Kiwanis Miracle League Vice President Joyce Byrne says one of the most gratifying aspects of the Barnstormers-Miracle League relationship is the way the kids respond to the players. "The looks on the kids' faces when the Barnstormes walk in here is amazing. When they pick them up and throw them on their shoulders and run around the bases, they just love it."

Another Miracle League Vice President, Tom Pflanz, says the goodwill provided by the Barnstormers' visit is not just special to the kids, but to those who volunteer their time each year. "It's really special to us too because we come to these games each week and we help the kids and see them grow. Some of the kids who come here are severely handicapped. They are just so happy to be here and the Barnstormers being here is just like kicking it up another level."

It's not just the Miracle League kids who get a kick out of this annual event, so do the Barnstormers. Back in 2010, then barnstormer Micah King developed a special relationship with a ten-year-old girl named matty Landwehr of Altoona, which was documented in a Des Moines Register story.

Meanwhile, current Barnstormers defensive standout Javicz Jones has been involved with the Miracle League kids for the past two seasons and loves the event. "The experience is awesome," said Jones. "It's one of those that as a professional athlete we find to be so humbling. it's great to know that part of what we do impacts lives. We always want to inspire someone and this gives us the chance to do that." 

This past Thursday night's Mriacle League-Iowa Barnstormes event was made even more special, thanks to a generous contribution on the part of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Wellmark presented Kiwanis Miracle League with a check for $1,000, which was earned by the Iowa Barnstormers' mascot Billy the Barnstormer back in April during the Drake Relay's Grand Blue Mile Mascot Race. 

The Iowa Barnstormers and the Kiwanis miracle League - a match made in heaven. 



Search Archive »




Browse by Year »

2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
0

Browse by Month »

November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010