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frogtog

Two Choices

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       Two Choices

       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 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 (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. His Father watched with 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 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 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 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.

       You now have two choices:

       1. Delete

       2. Forward

         

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Read that one somewhere before and it brought tears to my eyes then as well!! Stories of human kindness and compassion are indeed worth everyone's attention, IMO. Too bad they're seldom deemed "sensational" enough to warrant actual news coverage.

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I am not trying to ruin the magic here, but I would suggest re-reading the story and the commentary at the following link before you send it to everyone you know. It's a very touching story, but does it send the right message?

http://www.snopes.com/glurge/chush.asp

Ronnie

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Frogtog:  You have posted some of the funniest jokes and stories that I have ever read anywhere.  You have also posted stories that are deeply moving and inspirational.  Thank you for your generosity.

Alpster:  The Snopes post is really just one person's opinion of the meaning of the piece.  Interpreted another way, the story shows the humanity of more able-bodied boys, recognizing the limitations of Shay or Shaya.  I doubt the boys felt pity for Shay's limitations.  Rather, they were inspired to give a gift of ultimate joy to someone who could not accomplish the feat on his own.  The point being that Shay's self-esteem was greatly enhanced by the actions of those boys.  With greater self-esteem, had he not later died, may have allowed Shay to accomplish much more in his life than he otherwise could have, realizing that perhaps that there is a way to overcome his limitations.

Again, the story is meaningful to show the kindness, thoughtfulness and humanity of those boys.  Those boys and Shay would have gained nothing by not allowing him to play.  They gained much, much more by giving a handicapped boy a chance.  Whoever you are, I do not think that being kind is a bad character trait.

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having worked with many kids with disabilities, some of them cannot achieve physical accomplishments that they are cognitively aware of, and that is frustrating and depressing, especially when they see their peers accomplishing those things. A little help can go a long way in making their lives a little less difficult (for the parents and the kids). Even if it wasn't for real, it was to the kid, and that's all that matters.

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