Shay.

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 put ting 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.

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.

Sent in by L Collis Wales UK

 

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