Out-of-state cyclists play ball with special-needs children

The out-of-state visitors traded their bicycles for baseball bats and gloves as part of the Kiwanis Miracle League’s special event, The Ability Experience – the American pastime played against 30 college-age cyclists.

“It’s competitive, and the kids love that,” said Mike Schneider, whose son, Corey, plays in the Miracle League. “At the same time, it’s all about the love of the sport, the love of the game and just the ability to come out and have fun with their friends.”

Schneider said his son looks forward to the event each year.

“From Day 1, Corey’s been blessed here,” Schneider said. “He just loves it. People love him, and he has an opportunity to play baseball, something he’s loved all his life.”

Joe Sciandra, a Journey of Hope cyclist, said the experience was revitalizing and inspiring.

“They can come out, and they can play,” Sciandra said. “Everyone scores. Everyone’s a winner here, and that’s what’s really an inspiration for the kids around here. We’re showing that it’s the ability experience, and we want to focus on the abilities of all people and what they can do, not what they can’t.”

Jan Burch, president of Kiwanis Miracle League, said it’s a great opportunity for both the special kids and their buddies.

“In a minute, they’re best of friends,” Burch said. “They’re smiling. They realize that these kids are really no different than they are.”

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