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 schoolthat serves children with learningdisabilities, 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 parkwhere some boys Shay knew wereplaying 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 thefield and asked (not expecting much)if Shay could play. The boy lookedaround for guidance and said, 'We'relosing 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'sbench 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 wasstill 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 is 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 basesloaded, the potential winning run wason base and Shay was scheduledto be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shaybat and give away their chance to winthe game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.
Everyone knew that a hit was all butimpossible because Shay didn't evenknow how to hold the bat properly,much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to theplate, the pitcher, recognizing thatthe other team was putting winningaside for this moment in Shay's life,moved in a few steps to lob the ballin softly so Shay could at leastmake contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swungclumsily and missed.
The pitcher again took a few steps
forward to toss the ball softly towardsShay.
As the pitch came in, Shay swungat the ball and hit a slow groundball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over.
The pitcher picked up the softgrounder and could have easilythrown the ball to the first baseman.
Shay would have been out and thatwould have been the end of the game.
Instead, the pitcher threw theball right over the first baseman'shead, out of reach of all team mates.
Everyone from the stands and bothteams started yelling, 'Shay, run tofirst!
Run to first!'
Never in his life had Shay ever runthat 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 awkwardlyran towards second, gleaming andstruggling to make it to the base.
By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had theball. The smallest guy on their teamwho now had his first chance to be thehero for his team.
He could have thrown the ball to thesecond-baseman for the tag, but heunderstood the pitcher's intentions sohe, too, intentionally threw the ballhigh and far over the third-baseman'shead.
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 boysfrom 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 herowho hit the grand slam and won thegame 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
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
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 adifference.
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
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.