DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s an all star game that athletes anticipate with enthusiasm. Fifteen year old Hanah Phillips said, “This is probably my favorite game to play with them. I don’t like to miss it.”
Once a year, Des Moines police and firefighters partner with miracle league athletes. “This is one of the highlights of our year, being able to participate with the athletes and we bring some superheroes out to intermingle with them,” said Police Chief Dana Wingert.
They battle it out on the baseball diamond at Kiwanis Miracle League Field. Fire Chief John TeKippe said it is quite the honor to be invited, “It’s like winning the super bowl every year we get to be here.”
While officers and firefighters offer strong support as “buddies” to the ball players, it’s not exactly easy to tell who`s helping who. Chief Wingert said, “I don’t know who is having more fun, the athletes or the police and firefighters.”
Local law enforcement officers are accustomed to the day to day stress of keeping Des Moines safe, but that term was reserved for crowd pleasing runs crossing home plate. “Coming out here with these kids and having a great time, it’s just a pure celebration of joy and getting a chance to be with these kids,” said Chief TeKippe.
Hunter Woods’ eleventh birthday was a hit, a big one. “One of them was a home run,” he said.
As the athletes got their competitive juices flowing, Hanah said the final score is not what participants or fans walk away with. “Everybody gets a hit and it always ends up in a tie so you win either way.
Despite many of the day to day complications these athletes face, for a few hours they are all-stars. “A smile changes everything,” Hanah said.
The game had to be rescheduled twice due to excessive heat. Saturday will feature a day full of games at 9 am. Athletes and fans are encouraged to wear Cyclones or Hawkeyes colors.