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Friday, February 28, 2014
This must be my inspirational week. :)
What would you do?....you make the choice. Don't look for
a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is:
Would you have made the same choice?
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with
learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered
a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.
After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered
'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does,is done
with perfection.yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do.
He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things
in my son?'
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and
physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature
presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'
Then he told the following story:
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.
Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not
want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I understood that if my son
were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some
confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play.
The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is
in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in
the ninth inning.'
Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt.
I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart.. The boys saw my
joy at my son being accepted.In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored
a few runs but was still behind by three.
In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field.
Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game
and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs
and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was
scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their
chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible
because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team
was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob
the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few
steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.As the pitch came in, Shay swung at
the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to
the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of
the game.Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head,
out of reach of all team mates.
Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!
Run to first!'
Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.He scampered
down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, 'Run to second,
run to second!' Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second,
gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.
B y the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball.
The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.
He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood
the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the
Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases
toward home. All were screaming,'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay.'
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning
him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their
feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'
Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the
grand slam and won the game for his team. 'That day', said the father softly with tears
now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love
and humanity into this world'.
Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten
being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his mother
tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
NOTE FROM Ginger: As an author, I respect this piece as a good work of fiction.
I would love nothing more than to believe this wonderful act of kindness and grace actually
happened, but I live in the real world and children learn from their parents, and parents
bicker over everything from parking places to shopping carts. I've been out shopping,
at a time of the year when "Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men" is supposed to
have special meaning, but it doesn't. Christmas seems to bring out the worst in us...
something we need to work on. But, I'm posting this today,partly because of what follows,
but with the hope this post might inspire us all to think twice and "pay it forward"
by setting a better example for our children and grandkids.
AND NOW A LITTLE FOOT NOTE TO THIS STORY:
We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought,
but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate.
The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public
discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.
If you're thinking about sharing this message, chances are that you're probably trying
to figure out the'appropriate' ones to receive this type of message Well, the person who
shared this with you this believes we all can make a difference.
We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the 'natural order
So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:
Do we pass aloqng a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities
and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?
A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst