Bowl Founder Blog: October 14, 2015
Updated: October 14, 2015
BY DR. JACK WELCH
Bucket or hero, your choice!
Have you ever watched the Andy Griffith Show? I watch Andy almost every night to go to sleep. One of my favorite episodes is when Gomer enlisted in the Marine Corps. During this episode, Gomer could not shut up. When Sargent Carter told the fellows to “fall in”, Gomer was talking to Andy and wouldn’t stop. Andy finally convinced Gomer to quit talking and fall in.
Sargent Carter made Gomer put a bucket over his head. Only Gomer could hear himself sing or talk. Wouldn’t it be nice for the crowd control security guards to hand out buckets for the “Derogatory screamers” so they could put it on their head and listen to themselves holler and say hurtful things about teams and individual players since no one else wants to hear them? What a great idea to allow others enjoy the game.
It is a shame and disgrace when adult people shout derogatory remarks about players. Calling out a player by name or position is very hurtful. Hurtful comments do not serve any purpose at contests. Kids deserve “Heroes”, not naysayers.
Heroes don’t always make the news, but heroes can make an impact on people lasting a lifetime. Sports heroes come and go because they weren’t really a hero, but someone who made the news. True heroes are those who give hope to the hopeless and are loved for eternity.
I recently read a story about how much a parent was touched by kindness. At a school event for students of learning disabilities, a father delivered a speech that will never be forgotten. He shared that his son did not learn as other children do.
Then he told the following story. My son and I had walked past a park where some local boys were playing baseball. My son asked, “Dad, do you think they’ll let me play?” The father knew most of the boys would not want someone like his son 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, so he asked if his boy could join in. The boys reluctantly said they guessed his son could be on the team. The team would try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.
The son struggled over to the team’s bench. He had a smile that covered his face. He was so happy to be with the team.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the team scored a few runs but were still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, his son put on a glove and played right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field. The young man was grinning from ear to ear as the father waved to him from the stands with a tear of joy in his eyes.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and his son was scheduled to be next at bat. What would the team do? Would they let him bat or would they replace him with a pinch hitter to try to win the game? The boys on the team gave a bat to his son and sent him to the plate. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because the young man didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
The boy stepped up to the plate and the pitcher on the other team, recognizing that the team was putting winning aside so this boy could bat, moved in a few steps to lob the ball softly so he could at least make contact. The first pitch came and the boy swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly. As the pitch came in, he swung at the ball and hit a slow grounder right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over, right? Wrong! The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman but instead threw the ball over the first baseman’s head.
Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling for the boy to run to first! Never in his life had he ever run that far, but he made it to first base.
Each player that handled the ball intentionally overthrew the throws so the young man could score. Everyone in the crowd was screaming run, run, run, all the way home!
He finally made it to home plate and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team! The father softly with tears now rolling down his face said, “The boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world”. Both teams’ players were hero’s that day!
His son didn’t make it to the next summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the “hero” for his team.
We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help young people feel special. When you hear someone holler derogatory comments about a child, offer them a “bucket”.
Thought for the week, “A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate amongst them.” Author unknown