May 16, 2013
Cary, N.C. — It doesn't take much to get a smile out of someone on the Miracle League field.
The league has been making baseball dreams come true for players with special needs, especially when Steven Mongno takes his seat behind the mic.
"He's a little corny. He's a little quirky. The kids love him," said Steven's mother Elaine Mongno.
Steven is a a senior at Green Hope High School and is enjoying his third season as the Miracle League's favorite public address announcer.
"The Miracle League had just lost an announcer to college so I decided, I am loud and obnoxious enough, I might as well try it out," said Steven.
"It was just natural. He loves the reaction he gets from them," said Elaine.
"A lot of times they will stop and think they need to stop, and I'll say he's moving to third base and they will start going," Steven said.
Steven gives up his Friday nights to be there. He's never missed a game. Remarkable for a senior looking to soak up the final days of high school and even more impressive when you learn he has plenty of reason to take a night off.
"About two years ago I was diagnosed with FSGS Kidney disease. It's one of the rarer forms of kidney disease so there is no cure," Steven said.
He may need a kidney transplant.
"I think about how happy I am when I come here," said Steven. "If I do come on a bad day I get cheered up right away."
"I love this guy. Come here buddy," said Jack, a Miracle League athlete.
"You come out here and you expect to have a good time, but you don't expect to feel the way you feel," Steven said.
While an entire generation is growing up with text messaging and facebook. Steven already knows the value of the spoken word and how easily it can lead to a smile.