Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read
it anyway. My question is: Would WE have made the same
choice? My other question: Can our warring political parties make the same choice?
Can they for a change seek common grounds expunging considerations of religion and race, to give the common man (Shay) a chance for one moment in time. The ordinary rakyat CAN, if the politicians WANT us to. Didn’t we vote them in? When did the rules change? And who changed them?
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! 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!
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.
May your day, be a Shay Day