Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Two choices to make - which one would you make...

450 mm by 450 mm (18 in by 18 in) Handicapped ...Image via Wikipedia

Two Choices to make  - which one would you make?

What would you do? make the choice. Don't look for a punchline, 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 a question:

'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 also 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


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 the ball.

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


Run to first!'

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first


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 third-baseman's head.

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


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!

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