Miracle League keeps 'Dunk Day' alive with online donations amid COVID-19

Every spring for the past 14 years, Dominic has spent his Friday nights at the Miracle League field.

"It's fun," said Dominick Beverley. "Everybody wins it helps disabled people and it gives a chance for disabled people to play sports."

"It was a chance for us to kind of bond with other families that are going through the same things," said Dominick's mother, Shannon Barnhart. "It makes us feel not so alone sometimes. It also makes us feel a lot more normal. We get to sit in the stands like any other parent and not have to help or be a caretaker at that point. We get to watch him in his natural element."

This season is canceled because of COVID-19, so, for now, players, coaches and volunteers are playing catch virtually.

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"It's been really hard," Barnhart said. "We've missed all of his friends that he's made there and missed being able to do that so it's a lot harder. It's been a lot different."

"My favorite part is the opportunity to just be kids and these families to come and just have fun," said Miracle League coach Allison Andrews. "If you haven't done it I don't know that you can explain it to people. There's just so much joy in it, man I miss it right now."

Typically each team in the spring is challenged to raise $500 and if they do so they get to dunk their coaches. Last year, the Miracle League raised over $40,000 from Dunk Day.

"You get to dunk your coaches which is fun and hilarious," Beverley said.

"It's so much fun, it's such a joy for everybody," Andrews said. "I think they love it as much as we do."

Even without a season this spring, the league is asking players, coaches and volunteers to raise money online and hopes to host the very first mid-summer classic in July for a day of games, food and dunking.

"It's very important to be able to do it in a healthy, fun and safe way so that these players can continue to get to experience what they are doing," Barnhart said. "It's the cherry on top isn't it? It gives us something to look forward to at the end of our weeks."
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