Thousands of kids weren’t the only ones soaking in an Oklahoma City RedHawks game on a warm Wednesday afternoon at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Among the sellout crowd of 10,178, a group from the Garvin County Community Living Center in Pauls Valley, an assisted living program geared toward developmentally challenged adults, filled part of section 106.
“This is very fun, said Cathy Dismuke, 42. “It’s fun to be around the kids and watch a game. It’s a really big stadium, a lot of people.”
Dan Holbrook, program coordinator for the Garvin County Community Living Center, said events like a RedHawks game give pride to people that need assistance. Attending the game with hundreds of elementary school kids and their chaperons is the ideal setting.
“Some of the group has been to a RedHawks game before, but for a lot of us this was the first time,” said Martin, 54, a staff member. “It’s a lot of fun. It was a great day for our group to be part of something like this.”
Field trip games have been a huge success for the RedHawks. Wednesday’s game featured pockets of lime-green and orange T-shirts, virtually a rainbow of colors that create a unique atmosphere with kids filling the majority of seats.
“It’s a great deal. Kids get to have an outing outside of school, get a RedHawks hat, eat a box lunch and enjoy a game,” said Michael Byrnes, president and general manager of the RedHawks. “But we also have senior groups. These field trip games always produce a unique atmosphere. They’re a lot of fun for everybody.”
Holbrook said most of his 42 group members at the game live together in homes in groups of three or four. Some still live with their parents. They’re a tight-knit group. Sharing stories is a highlight.
“They all get to wear their hats and be part of the game,” Holbrook said. “It’s a unique group. We have one here today who will be 73 next month, but some of them are in their 30s. One guy wasn’t with us today, but he’s 85.
“Most of them have jobs. They got to skip work today just like the kids are skipping school so it’s a really cool deal for them.”
This summer the Pauls Valley assisted living group will take a trip to Sequoyah Western Hills State Park in Wagoner where they’ll swim and fish, a weekend packed with outdoor activities.
“It’s important to them to not be looked upon like they’re developmentally disabled, where people don’t have to stare at them,” Holbrook said. “It makes them feel like they’re part of (society) just like everybody else, normal.
“Coming to the RedHawks game today, they’ll talk about it a little today, but it will be one of those stories they’ll talk about for a long time. This is a big deal to them.”