Saturday, November 11, 2006

Another reason I love what I do!

My cousin sent me this post over an email. I think it is beautiful, and I wonder, if we were in the same situation would we have done the same thing? I pray that we would!

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled
children, 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,
physically and mentally handicapped 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 his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay
knew were 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 like Shay on their team, but the father also understood
that if his 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.

Shay's father 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. His Father watched with a small tear in his
eye and warmth in 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 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 his father 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

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! 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 his father so happy,
and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her
little hero of the day!

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