Community service project gives kids with special needs an opportunity to play sports

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OLATHE, Kan. -- An Olathe baseball field became a field of dreams for a group of disabled children, as part of the Olathe Northwest Ravens football team's community service project.

The showdown, as they call it, gives these children, usually left out of sporting events, the opportunity to be superstars.

The teams have been out practicing for their big game which will be held on Sunday. During the first ever “showdown,” the stands will be packed and the field will be full of the most inspiring athlete's most have ever seen. Judging by those who watched them practice, it will be a game to remember.

Thursday was a great day on this field, a dream come true for Sharon Bagby and her son, Sam.

"It warms my heart to see him out there just hanging out and playing,” said Bagby. “He's never played sports and so this might be the beginning of something."

Football players from Olathe Northwest teaming up with special needs students from throughout the Olathe School District, putting together fans and athletes as teammates.

"They cheer us on at all of our sporting events, so why can't they have people to cheer them on at this one," said Mitchell Holsinger, an Olathe Northwest football player.

“It's so cool seeing a smile put on their face," said another football player, Manny Psihountas. "They are always there for us just giving back is really a good feeling."

This is the result of a community service project, but for these football players, it's more than that, it's a labor of love.

"My cousin has down's syndrome. And just seeing him grow up and having school be his only real social life, being the only time he could really get involved with people. It's great to see they can get involved outside of school," said football player Bailey McAuley.

Ryan Hansen is having more fun with the social aspect of the game, but when called to help his team, he hit it on his first try.

"That's very exciting. It makes you feel good as a mom,” said Hansen's mom, Kalie Hansen.

The field is one of two baseball fields in Kansas City built as part of the Miracle Project.

Proceeds from Sunday’s game will go to finish the field and to the special education programs in the Olathe School District.

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