Nothing was going to stop Madelin “Maddy” Beardsley from getting to the Kempsville High School baseball games.
During her time at Kempsville, she had helped out in the dugout, kept some statistics for the coaching staff and cheered on the mighty Chiefs.
Over the summer, the school hired a new baseball coach, Travis Sutton. Beardsley wasted no time. She went straight up to Sutton and asked for a meeting.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect during the meeting, but Maddy was on a mission,” Sutton said. “It was obvious that a special relationship had developed, and Maddy wanted me to know that even though ice hockey was her first love, she would like to keep helping the baseball team.”
As the fall baseball season started, Sutton fully expected to see Beardsley at every game, pen in hand, but as the season progressed, he had not seen her much at all.
It was puzzling.
“We knew how much Maddy wanted to be out there and knew Maddy was still interested in baseball,” Sutton said. The team began to ask why she was not there, and, as it turned out, the answer was all about access.
Hearing this, the team, along with principal Bill Harris and student activities coordinator Tim Wolf, reached out to the school division’s Office of Facilities Construction and Planning. Using funds designated for school modifications related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the school was able to lay an asphalt path from the parking lot to the field.
“Maddy truly feels like she’s part of the baseball team and this just sealed the deal,” Beardsley’s parents, Lisa and Scott, wrote in an email. “She has always wanted to be part of something and you all have made that possible. The team has been so kind to her and have made her feel needed. Maddy looks forward to working with the team for the years to come.”
These days, Beardsley challenges passersby to a race, giving the strip of pavement the unofficial title of “Maddy’s Raceway.”
“Honestly, we didn’t do anything other than send a few e-mails and ask for a path,” Sutton said. “Spend a few minutes with Maddy and you will see why those players are the lucky ones. She will win your heart with her enthusiasm and great smiles.”