Baseball field gives Adaptive PE students opportunity to play


Paula Anstaett

PLAY BALL. Sophomore Luke MacBrair is up to bat. Senior Maddy Davis was one of the student volunteers on the field trip. She helped assist MacBrair and other students in using the machine. “[Baseball day is] about [the students], and it’s just a day of fun,” said Mrs. Paula Anstaett, Adaptive Physical Education teacher.

On Wed., Oct. 3,  special needs students from all across Sycamore had a chance to play baseball. How? A place called The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields (JNMLF).

The idea for the JNMLF came from former Cincinnati Reds player and announcer Joe Nuxhall. After realizing that there was nowhere in the area where children and adults with special needs could play baseball unrestricted, Nuxhall wanted to create it.

While Nuxhall did not live to see his vision of an adaptive baseball field come to life, his son, Kim Nuxhall, carried on the dream.

With help from Larry Tischler, Steve Smith, and many others, Kim Nuxhall was able to make his father’s dream a reality. The JNMLF finally opened in 2012.

The field has adaptive baseball leagues for children and adults, and it also hosts many schools in the Cincinnati area.

The JNMLF has two baseball diamonds that are made to look like major league baseball fields with a jumbotron, dugouts, and stadium seats.

There is a playground that includes some adaptive features. The facility also has equipment that helps every student be able to play.

On their field trip to the JNMLF, Sycamore’s Adaptive Physical Education (PE) students were split up between the two fields: those from the elementary schools on one field and students from the E.H. Greene School, Sycamore Junior High School, and SHS on the other.

Each field had student volunteers from SHS who helped run the games and encourage the players. The students played a game of baseball then ate lunch and had time to enjoy the facility.

The core belief at the JNMLF is that “every kid, with every challenge, should get every chance to play baseball.”   

This is exactly what the field gives to Sycamore’s Adaptive PE classes, who have been going on the field trip annually for six years.

“[The students are] getting to play a game of baseball like everybody else does, on a real field…that’s safe for them… they’ve made it so that everyone can play,” said Mrs. Paula Anstaett, Adaptive PE teacher.

The students are treated like stars for the day, getting their pictures put up on the jumbotron.

The student volunteers also enjoyed the experience. Any SHS student could volunteer for the field trip.

“I thought that the baseball day was an overall amazing experience… It was so wonderful to see all of [the special needs students] happy. I will for sure participate next year,” said Sophia Odaka, 10.

Overall, the annual field trip is a positive experience for everyone involved. For those interested in volunteering next year, Anstaett will likely be looking for volunteers next September.