Monday, June 11, 2012

Fairfield Field of Dreams

What began as one little girl's dream of playing baseball like other kids is now a dream come true in Fairfield.

Sheila here, and last night I had the great priviledge of emceeing the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields at Hatton Park in Fairfield. Now kids with special needs will get to enjoy one of childhood's greatest pleasures.

Reds legend Joe Nuxhall didn't live long enough to see this field of dreams, surrounded by corn on Groh Lane, but speaker after speaker last night talked about Joe watching down on the ceremonies with pride in his family and the hundreds of people who had a hand in building it. Joe's wish to build this field began with a feature on HBO'S Real Sports about six years ago, and it became his son Kim's mission to get it built.

Kim says the Miracle League Field is the product of countless volunteers and donations of building materials. "My dad would say 'You've got to be kidding me,' said Nuxhall. " I think he just wouldn't believe it how this community and the people have stepped up in this project. Its remarkable."

The Miracle League committee honored Kim and those countless volunteers, along with fallen hero Lance Corporal Taylor Prazcynski. Taylor was one of Kim's students. He did a lot of work with special needs kids, and a relief of his image will hang at the ball park. It was quite a moment when the work of art by sculptor Tom Tsuchiya was presented to his parents John and Carol. Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini missed the top half of last night's Reds game to be part of the special night and told the crowd all of the volunteers will be treated to a game this season as a small way of thanking them for their work.

And there was hardly a dry eye in the place when Joe's friend Karlee Thomas made her way around the bases for the first time to meet Jessi Hutson at home plate for the ribbon cutting by Joe's wife Donzetta. You can see that video here:

Kim likes to talk about how his dad didn't care about fame or money, that what Joe taught so many is that the really important things in life are character and respect and what you do for other people. Kim carries on that legacy in so many ways, and the Miracle League fields are one example which we can see and touch. My husband Ric and I took our kids to the ceremony, and we left with a message which is so simple, yet so profound - that being nice to others and putting others first will always bring you the best moments in life.

The first game is set for July 28th. I hope to see you there, and if you want to learn more about the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League fields, check out the Facebook page here:

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