Shay's Story

Posted by breathe.and.release | Posted in | Posted on 4:58 AM

At a fund-raising 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 that child.'

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!

AND NOW A LITTLE FOOT NOTE 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
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
you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who 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 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.


Share this with someone who might appreciate it. Let's try to show some kindness
as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

May your day, be a Shay Day.