The great Michael Jordan once said, “It doesn’t matter if you win as long as you give everything in your heart.”
That is truly what the athletes in the League of Dreams, an adaptive sports league for children ages 5 to 22 with physical and developmental disabilities, give – their heart.
For many of these athletes, League of Dreams is the first sports they have and will play. Many of these athletes have never been given a chance to step on the field or roll up the court, to push a bowling ball up the lanes or dance on a stage. League of Dreams gives every child a chance to play by providing sports training, team camaraderie and competitive sporting opportunities to athletes with disabilities.
More than that, League of Dreams is a place where they can show their abilities and not their disabilities. Each athlete is unique and these programs give athletes a chance to show what they can do on the field with a little bit of help.
The League of Dreams baseball season kicks off on Sunday, March 10, at CSUB’s Hardt Field following the CSUB baseball game at noon. Opening ceremonies will introduces athletes onto the field followed by the singing of the National Anthem and a special presentation.
Games will start the following week on Sunday, March 17, at Fruitvale Norris Park and will continue on Sunday afternoons through May 12.
The league relies heavily on volunteers to help the athletes play and to run the concession stand, which helps fund the organization.
When you arrive at the park, you hear the cheers of the crowd, the ping of the bat and a slide into home plate. You don’t know that these athletes have a disability until you see them on the field, but even that doesn’t always show true.
For more information on how to get involved, visit www.ourleagueofdreams.com. ￼
Jessica Mathews has been the executive director for the League of Dreams since 2012, but has been involved with the programs since its inception in 2007. Jessica, a Bakersfield native, is a mother to Whitley (8) and wife of 10 years to Tony.