Game Day Memories

Tonya Langdon —  July 12, 2011

Baseball Games! Oh how I love to watch the San Diego Padres play baseball! There is excitement in the air when you go to Petco Park to watch them play, eat a hot dog or two and seeing the fireworks go off when one of the Padres hits a home run!
Sadly, many families who have children with special needs will never attend a baseball game at Petco Park; until now.

Bo Mitchell, who has served as the Denver Nuggets Chapel Coordinator, noticed how many empty seats there were in the area reserved for those with disabilities. Game Day Memories was created to reach families with children with special needs and  by provide them with tickets FREE of charge to local sporting events. Recently, Focus on the Family and Game Day Memories joined forces to reach more families throughout the nation. Each liaison, like myself , then distributes these tickets to the families with children who have special needs. To assist the families , they are paired with a hosts (they also receive free tickets). These amazing hosts will serve these families and their children during the game, giving them a much needed reprieve from their daily challenges and obstacles, while providing some time of fun and fellowship.

As the liaison for Focus on the Family and Game Day Memories, I had the pleasure of distributing the tickets to 29 families, who received 6 seats for each game. Many of these families had never been to a Padre Game and were ecstatic to receive the tickets for free! Some had tears in their eyes as I handed them their tickets, gratitude that there was someone who was reaching out to them and not asking for anything from them. One family drove for over hour and half so their son could attend the game! While another family wrote me and said they could only stay until the fifth inning, but they were happy for that was a long time for their son to attend a game. Simple pleasures that most of us take for granted.

Most of us can’t give away large amounts of tickets to sporting events or create a time of respite for alot of families. However, at each of our upcoming children’s events (VBS, camp, Kidz Night Out) we need to be more purposeful in our efforts to included families with special needs and finding creative ways to offer scholarships to help ease the financial burdens that often keeps them from being able to participate. Will it be a grand event? Not likely. Will it ease someone else’s burdens? Hopefully, even if it is only for a few hours.

Tonya Langdon

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Tonya is married with three children. Tonya currently spearheads The Agape Connections (special needs ministry), teaches the 4th & 5th grade Sunday school class and leads a support group for parents who have children with A.D.H.D. and Behavioral Disorders at Skyline Church in La Mesa, Ca. The Agape Connections work with families who have special needs children so the entire family is able to attend church services and age appropriate church activities. In Tonya’s “free time” she is studying for ordination, writes articles and co-owns an office products business with her brother.