June 2, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
OPELIKA — Members of the Auburn football team welcomed a chance to interact again with the kids and players of the Miracle League of East Alabama on Saturday, but who got the most out of it may be a happy subject to debate.
"Everybody" may be the accurate answer.
"I don't feel that special, but in the kids' eyes we were heroes — at least until Aubie got there," punter Steven Clark chuckled after spending a Saturday with some of his teammates, Auburn cheerleaders and, of course, Aubie, at the league for special needs youth and ballplayers.
The Auburn contingent helped the Miracle League kids play baseball. Miracle League players were paired with a "buddy" from Auburn.
"Most of the parents and coaches were telling us how much this means to the kids and how happy we're making them. But it means a lot to us, too," Clark said. "I did this my first year here and I really enjoyed it. I was really excited to have a chance to go back."
The Miracle League is one of many community service projects Auburn is involved in. The Miracle League features a rubberized synthetic turf for those needing wheelchairs and walkers. The Opelika Lions Club sponsors the league and games are played at Billy Hitchcock Field — a field named after one of Auburn's all-time great baseball players.
Auburn center Reese Dismukes liked the idea of spending this Saturday with the Miracle League.
"It means a lot to have an opportunity go out there and try to make an impact with young people's lives and have a good time doing it," Dismukes said.
"It's just a way to give back to the fans. The kids really like having us out there and I think it means a lot to the parents."
"Most of the parents," said Clark, "are from around the area, so there are a lot of Auburn fans out there, so the kids are going 'War Eagle.' You can see the brightness in their eyes."
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