The first Miracle League was completed in Georgia in April, 2000. By opening day, Miracle League rosters had grown to more than 120 players. The players raced around the bases and chatted with their teammates in the dugouts as they celebrated. Like wildfire, the joy of Miracle League spread across the United States wherever someone with compassion and vision stepped up to the plate on behalf of the Players and said, “Play ball”.
Doug Inman was that kind of remarkable and compassionate man, and is the reason we now experience the Miracle League in our area. Doug, a successful business entrepreneur, first saw a report about the national Miracle League Organization in 2004. He was deeply touched by seeing kids who had never played organized baseball, kids with autism, physically challenged kids, blind kids, kids with Down’s Syndrome, all playing organized baseball for the first time. He saw their smiles, heard their cheers, felt their joy, and decided he needed to do something to offer the same opportunity locally.
Doug raised the initial $400,000 to build the area’s first Miracle League field on land made available by the City of Arlington. With his drive and incredible will, the Miracle League in North Texas has flourished since its inception. The kids play on a special rubberized field with no obstacles. The base paths, the bases – everything is painted so that there is nothing to get in the way of the athletes, whether they are running, in wheelchairs, or on walkers.
The Miracle League Field in Southlake was included on Bicentennial Park’s Redevelopment Master Plan in 2007. Phillip Meyer had been a volunteer with the program in Arlington, and contacted the national leadership to determine what would be needed to create an organization in Southlake.
They put him in touch with Mike Mills, a fellow Southlake resident then coaching in the Arlington Miracle League. Phil and Mike, along with Angela Weisgarber and Rory Brown, comprised the first board that developed the organization’s by-laws and secured a 501 (c)(3) charter for the organization. With this accomplished, they initiated the formulation of a plan that ultimately led them to reach out to John Slocum, president of the Southlake Parks Development Corporation (SPDC). John agreed to serve as a city liaison/parks board chairman and later joined the Miracle League board. Community leaders from the Carroll Independent School District (board, administration and parent organizations) and the City of Southlake (city staff and elected and appointed officials) subsequently joined in to help organize the league and plan for construction of the field.
We have been privileged to have the enthusiastic support of the national Miracle League organization, as well as support from the communities we serve, as we developed our mission and direction. The national organization has provided us with guidance on fund raising and other efforts critical to the formation of the Miracle League of Southlake. We sincerely appreciate their support and acknowledgment of the role we can play in providing opportunities to a greater number of children. We also appreciate the support of the City of Southlake in enabling us to bring Phil’s and Mike’s vision to reality with the September 26, 2015 Opening Day of the Miracle League of Southlake.