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Joined: Mar 17, 2005
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Location: Staten Island

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:07 pm    Post subject: LIFE IS AN OCCASION ....RISE TO IT
From Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:00 am to Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:59 am (included)
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To All,

Someone sent me the following with the question:

What choice would you have made?

Now I have no idea if this is true or not but I would like to think that it is.

Our lives are so caught up in having to win.

From the presidential race right on down to little league too

much emphasis is put on winning.

Life is an occasion and we need to rise to it.

These kids did and after reading this I am going to try to rise to it as well.



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 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!
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