The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League 2020 spring and summer season has been postponed until the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak is under control in Ohio. Pictured is game action from May 2016 at the Groh Lane field in Fairfield. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/FILE
Photo: Michael D. Pitman
Photo: Michael D. Pitman

Butler County’s Miracle League seasons, funding at risk during coronavirus

The The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Field has already delayed this month’s Opening Day parade, and its spring and summer season may be in jeopardy. 

The Miracle League accommodates players who are high-functioning with disabilities to those who are severely disabled in need of assistance to participate.

Miracle League volunteer CEO Kim Nuxhall, son of the late Joe Nuxhall, said canceling the parade “was a tough one” as it’s one of his favorite aspects of the league’s season. Nuxhall said officials could create some type of tournament as a fun activity to make up for the missing time.

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“We’ll try to start something in June, whether it’s a couple of activity days or something like that,” he said. “We have to stay optimistic as best we can, and know that the end is in sight. We’d just like to see it a little sooner than later.”

Nuxhall is worried if the Miracle League’s second-largest fundraiser, the annual June car show, might be in jeopardy.

“Everything is just kind of wait-and-see,” he said. “You certainly can’t go out seeking contributions or anything like that right now. People are out of jobs, and business owners have laid off people.”

While the Groh Lane complex is dormant, Nuxhall is there working to make improvements.

“It’s going to look as good as it ever has when we do open,” he said.

The annual golf outing, which supports the Joe Nuxhall Scholarship Fund that helps high school seniors across Butler County, is also postponed until at least September, Nuxhall said. It’s the scholarship’s only fundraiser, he said.

The golf outing will run close to the annual fundraiser, the Miracle Ball, an annual dinner at which officials name Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Humanitarian of the Year. This year it will be Teddy Kremer, the former Reds batboy with Down syndrome who came to regional notoriety in 2012 and 2013.

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Miracle League board member Steve Smith said it’s “a huge disappointment” for the players and volunteers to see the activities delayed for this year.

“It’s a real challenge, especially with the special needs adults,” said Smith. “(The players) love the social aspect of our league and the fact that they physically get to be with one another. They all look forward to that.”

Smith said he has received calls and emails from players and volunteers asking about the start of the league season. He said the situation is frustrating because “until we know what’s going on with COVID-19 and what’s going on with the state, we’re at everybody else’s mercy, and safety is always priority number one for our players.

“We have to make sure the conditions are right before we bring them back and start playing,” said Smith, who started his involvement with special needs in Butler County in 1994 as a coach with the Therapeutic Recreation for the Disabled adult softball program.

For more information on the Miracle League, visit nuxhallmiracleleague.org.

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