Something a bit different today….
Get a tissue ready as this is very touching!
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 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
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 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 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 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.
By 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 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!
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!
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 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 who sent 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:
May your day, be a Shay Day.
Love & blessings to you and your family,