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"It’s my favorite time of the year." League of Dreams celebrates 17th opening day

Athletes and family members gathered in Northwest Bakersfield on Feb. 25 to celebrate the official start of baseball season
Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 25, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Spring has officially sprung with the kickoff of League of Dreams’ baseball season. On Sunday, Feb. 25, athletes and family members came out to celebrate the 17th season of League of Dreams.

“I love doing this. It’s like my favorite time of the year,” says Halle Hollowell.

Halle was one of the athletes welcomed onto the field in Northwest Bakersfield on Sunday to officially ring in baseball season.

For Halle, this kickoff day was special for another reason. It was her birthday, and family members and friends sang happy birthday to her as she came onto the field.

One of the many smiling faces at Opening Day
One of the many smiling faces at Opening Day

“I’m honored to do this on my birthday, actually," Halle said. "It feels really good to do this on my birthday.”

Halle says she’s been a League of Dreams athlete for a couple of years now, and she says her favorite part is spending time with her friends.

“They don’t ever judge you. It’s really good to be in this position that I am right now,” said Halle.

League of Dreams first began in 2007. For the past 17 years, they’ve offered adaptive sports programs for kids with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities.

Tracey Brown and her son Jacob are longtime members.

“Sixteen years. We started the second season," said Brown. "It just warms my heart because it’s something he enjoys doing. Well, all the kids enjoy.”

Tracey says they’ve found a community with League of Dreams, and it has been especially important in recent years.

“It’s been really nice, especially because my husband passed away three years ago–Jacob’s father," Brown said. "So to have this consistency in our lives just helps to keep with everyday life.”

This was executive director Kayla Nelson's first opening day since starting her role in the fall of 2023.

“I’m still a little emotional from today, but seeing all the parents and teams here today has been really magical," Nelson said. "This is a really special group of kids and a special community that’s been vested here in Bakersfield since 2007.”

Halle says she’s excited for this season to continue doing what she loves.

“To show that people can do anything," Halle said. "It doesn’t matter if you’re in a chair or not. You can still do it.”

Games officially begin next Sunday, March 3. League of Dreams says they are still in need of volunteers for this season. Information on how to volunteer can be found on their website.

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