Saturday, August 11, 2007

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 madethe same choice?At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabledchildren, the father of one of the students delivered a speech thatwould never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling theschooland its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interferedwith by outside influences, everything nature does is done withperfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other childrendo.He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the naturalorder of things in my son?" The audience was stilled by thequery.The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay,physicallyand mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity torealizetrue human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way otherpeopletreat that child."Then he told the following story:Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knewwere playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone likeShay on their team, but the father also understood that if his sonwereallowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belongingandsome confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (notexpecting much ) if Shay could play. The boy looked around forguidanceand said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighthinning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in tobatin the ninth inning."Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, putona team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye andwarmthin his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted.In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs butwas still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put onaglove 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 his father waved to him from the stands.Inthe bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, withtwo outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base andShay was scheduled to be next at bat.At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance towinthe game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.. Everyone knew that ahitwas all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold thebatproperly, much less connect with the ball.However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizingthat the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay'slife, 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 struggl ing to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... The smallest guy on their team who now had is 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 himturning 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 hisface, "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 his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands ofjokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes tosending 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 forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person whosent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along 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 them. You now have two choices: 1. Delete 2. Forward
May your day, be a Shay Day

No comments: