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 if Shay
could play, not expecting much. 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
Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad
smile and his Father had 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 'cause 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 the
other team 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 be able to
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, but 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 head of the first
baseman, 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 ran that far but 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 second
base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had
the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero
for his team for the first time.
He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he
understood the pitcher's intentions and 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
All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"
Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and
turned 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 those
watching were on their feet were 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 and 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 of
jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to
sending messages about life choices, people think twice about sharing. The
crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public
discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and
If you're thinking about forwarding this message,chances are that
you're probably sorting out the people on your address list that 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 that opportunity to brighten the day of
those with us the least able, 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.