18 Kids who made a disabled Boy a Hero for a day
It has been a while since I read this story, but this past weekend I was with my nephew and we were watching some kids play baseball and I thought of it. Just to give you some background, the story comes from the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York, and is about a disabled boy. Here it goes..
In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled
children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career,
while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools. At a Chush
fundraising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that
would never be forgotten by all who attended.
After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, “Where is
the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection.
But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child
cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God’s
The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father’s anguish and
stilled by the piercing query. “I believe,” the father answered, “that when
God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is
in the way people react to this child.”
He then told the following story about his son Shaya: One afternoon Shaya
and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing
baseball. Shaya asked, “Do you think they will let me play?” Shay’s father
knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want
him on their team. But Shaya’s father understood that if his son was chosen
to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.
Shaya’s father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya
could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting
none, he took matters into his own hands and said “We are 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 up to bat in the ninth inning.”
Shaya’s father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put
on a glove and go out to play short center field. In the bottom of the
eighth inning, Shaya’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya’s team scored again and now with
two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shaya
was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this
juncture and give away theirchance to win the game? Suprisingly, Shaya was
given the bat.
Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn’t even know
how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shaya
stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in
softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact. The first pitch
came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya’s teammates came
up to Shaya and together the held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for
the next pitch.
The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward
Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung at the bat and
together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up
the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first
baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game.
Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right
field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.
Everyone started yelling, “Shaya, run to first. Run to first.” Never in his
life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and
startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball.
He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out
Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the
pitcher’s intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third
baseman’s head. Everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second.”
Shaya ran towardssecond base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled
the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second base the opposing short stop
ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, “Run to
third.” As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him
screaming, “Shaya run home.”
Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their
shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a “grand slam” and won
the game for his team.
That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his
face,”those 18 boys reached their level of God’s perfection.”