Story : Sacrifice Play

Disabled playing Baseball

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 main streamed into conventional schools.

At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all that attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, “Where is the perfection in my son Jerry?

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 perfection?”

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 Jerry:

One afternoon Jerry and his father walked past a park where some boys Jerry knew were playing baseball. Jerry asked, “Do you think they will let me play?” Jerry’s father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Jerry’s father understood that if his son were chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.

Jerry’s father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Jerry 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”

Jerry’s father was ecstatic as Jerry smiled broadly. Jerry was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Jerry’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Jerry’s team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Jerry was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Jerry bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Jerry was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Jerry didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However, as Jerry stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Jerry should at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came in and Jerry swung clumsily and missed. One of Jerry’s teammates came up to Jerry and together they 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 Jerry.

As the pitch came in, Jerry and his teammate swung 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. Jerry 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, “Jerry, run to first. Run to first!” Never in his life had Jerry 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 that would tag out Jerry, 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.”

Jerry ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.

As Jerry reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, “Run to third.” As Jerry rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, “Jerry run.”

Jerry 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.”

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