4 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
 
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HomeIsrael and SocietyNoahide WorldA Real Winner
 
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A Real Winner    

A Real Winner



With a broad smile, Shay struggled over to the team's bench and put on a team shirt. His father's eyes were glistening with unshed tears.

 



With a broad smile, Shay struggled over to the team's bench and put on a team shirt. His father's eyes were glistening with unshed tears.
 
 
One of our readers sent us the following story. I tried to contact her via email, but I was not able to get through to the address she sent us. I want to publicly express my gratitude for sending us such a touching story.  Thank you! You know who you are!
 
***

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 asked a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn as other children do. He cannot understand as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stunned.

The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, who is 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."
 
He then told the following story:

Shay and his father 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 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 let him bat in the ninth inning."

With a broad smile, Shay struggled over to the team's bench and put on a team shirt. His father's eyes were glistening with unshed tears. The boys noticed 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 went out to play right field. Although no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game. He was 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 point, do the boys let Shay bat and forget about winning the game? Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible. Shay couldn't hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

The pitcher appreciated the fact that the other team was giving up their chance of winning the game. He moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so that Shay could at least be able to make contact.  Shay clumsily swung 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 pitcher 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 ran that far, but he somehow managed to make it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
 
All the boys began to yell, "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 was holding the ball. He was the smallest guy on their team and now he finally had a chance to be a hero. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag. Instead, he 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 the boys were jumping up and down, screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay!" 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." He had 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 passed away the following winter. In his few short year, he had provided the children in his neighborhood with the opportunity to express the goodness within their hearts.




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