WEBSTER, N.Y. -- Baseball is known to many as America’s pastime, but for those in the Webster Challenger League, it’s far more than just a game.
“It’s a chance for them to get out and socialize with a lot of kids at once, and a lot of parents and older kids that will accept them for who they are and what they are able to do,” Chaney Roko, one of the mother’s said.
The league, created in 2001, is designed to give those with challenges the chance to experience the fun of playing baseball.
This season however, after more than a decade of borrowing fields from other leagues, their sights are set on creating a place these players can call their own. League leaders said they are working on raising $1.2 million for a facility they would call the Miracle Field of Greater Rochester.
“It’s not just about Webster,” Webster Challenger Baseball Commissioner Ron Kampff said. “I have to make that clear. This is the greater Rochester area which would encompass several counties wherever we can get people to come and participate. That’s what matters.”
Kampff said the field would be built in Ridge Park next to Webster Town Hall and would include restrooms, a concession stand, a playground, and a field made especially for the players. The field would have a rubberized surface.
“We see pictures of our friends who have arthrogryposis playing on their fields,” Roko said. “They’re able to walk with their braces so much easier and use their crutches and gate trainers on those fields.”
Kampff said they also hope to expand the field’s use beyond just baseball and other sports.
“We have actually talked about maybe when it’s built, you could have a concert, a kids concert or a movie night, or anything that they can call it their home,” Kampff said.
Anything he said, to give those with challenges not just a place to make memories, but a place where they can just get away from it all for a few hours.
Kampff said they’ve raised $120,000 so far. He also said there are several other fundraisers in the works.
To learn more about the field and upcoming fundraisers, click here.