by Debbie Hardy
Bethel Springs, Tennessee, USA
Baseball for our family is a loved and cherished sport. All three of our children played, beginning with t-ball. The baby of the family, Rowdy, started playing ball in the front yard with his daddy at the age of two years old. So by the time he was four, Rowdy was more than ready to play.
I remember one game when Rowdy was six. He was on the pitcher’s mound. They were winning and Rowdy was thrilled. He was really serious about this game.
There was a child on the other team who suffered from Downs Syndrome. He came up to bat — because he wasn’t fast enough to get to first base, he always batted last. Every time the boy struggled to get to first, Rowdy would watch his own teammates get him out easily.
At the little boy’s last turn to bat, he hit the ball straight to Rowdy on the mound. Rowdy reached down to get it and then it was like a light went on in his head. He bobbled the ball and then kicked it around with his feet. The boy ran for he was worth, head hanging down, and made it to first.
I stood there watching my son fumble with the ball. My friend Lola, whose son played on the same team, noticed what was happening too. Her eyes filled up with tears and she said, “Oh my! Look what he is doing, Debbie. Rowdy is going to let that boy run!”
The boy ran on toward second. Rowdy continued to act like he couldn’t get a hand on the ball as the boy made it to third.
We stood there, both of us crying, for Rowdy was showing us that there are more important things in life than making an out. He was exhibiting compassion in the truest sense.
Rowdy’s teammates were screaming at him but eventually followed his lead. Rowdy just smiled and watched the little boy run toward home. He ran across home plate with a grin as big as Texas on his face. It was the first time he had ever scored in his whole life and he was so proud. His daddy ran out to him at home plate and you should have seen their faces. That boy scored so much more than a run that day.
It was a special moment in time for each and every person there. What a wonderful world it would be if we all could be as compassionate as Rowdy and his teammates were that day!
I have never been a prouder mother than I was on that day. Rowdy still plays baseball. He pitches and is very good at it. But that was a run worth remembering!