After months of waiting, Hall County’s Field of Dreams is ready to host its first league for children with special needs.
Starting Sept. 19, about 20 kids will gather to play baseball in the crisp fall air.
Marci Summer, facility manager for the South Hall Community Center, said the baseball games will be informal to begin with.
The league is for all ages and for anyone with physical or developmental disabilities.
"It’s going to be very open," Summer said. "Everybody’s going to hit, everybody’s going to get to be in the field, everybody’s going to get the chance to score."
Summer said in the early stages, teams will form depending on how many players are at each game. Attendance is not mandatory during the six-week season.
"We just want to play and have fun," Summer said. "As things grow we’ll break things out into age brackets and things like that. It is kind of a learning process for us."
Summer said the league is the product of the work she has done since the Alberta Banks Park facility opened in November.
"It takes longer to grow disabled sports (programs) than traditional sports," Summer said. "You’ve got to be in for the long haul to do this."
In the future, Summer envisions the program growing into more structured teams that vary by age and skill level.
Summer said older athletes in the Special Olympics may also participate in the league.
"Some of those athletes are going to come help with the league," Summer said. "There’s going to be really neat mentoring opportunities I think."
The program has not been without controversy.
Nearby residents were angry earlier this year that the field was not available for anyone to play on. For months, the field was padlocked in an effort to protect the expensive surface while Parks and Leisure developed a special needs league.
"It’s a little bit difficult to explain to people who don’t understand how long it takes," Summer said.
Registration is still open and those interested in joining the league can come to the first game Saturday to sign up.