In 2012 I experienced a most unusual baseball game between the Giants and the Yankees. During it I got to see a 5-run homer, a batter run the bases backwards, players skipping in the outfield and doing somersaults in the in-field.
Perhaps I should explain…
My wife, a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and 1st Graders was invited by the parents of one of her students to a baseball game in a Special Education league. She invited me, and so off we went on that beautiful sunny day which featured a strong brisk breeze.
The home team was named the Giants and the away team was the Yankee’s. By now you’ve probably figured out that this was no ordinary game. In fact, it was a special game indeed.
All the fans cheered equally for every player of both teams. Each player was matched with a “buddy” on the field who was a Little Leaguer who volunteered to help their little buddy field or hit the ball and stay safe.
Every one of the young volunteer buddies was amazing! They stayed focused the whole game patiently guiding their little buddies in gentle, loving ways. A like number of adults would be less likely to have done nearly so well.
Speaking of adults, the grown-up volunteers, coaches, managers, and others were wonderful! They kept everyone safe while helping children who were physically, mentally, and behaviorally challenged to experience the thrill of playing baseball.
Every child got to bat every inning. There were eight players per team and the score was tied 8 to 8 at the end of the first inning, and ended in a 16 to 16 tie. It wasn’t exactly a pitchers’ duel, and the fielding needs some work, but their bats were on fire!
On the field was a player in a motorized wheel chair, and players who could barely run, or hold the bat. Boys and girls played for each team. The players went through a range of emotions during the game with smiles dominating, but frustration and tears too. There were show-boats and shy players, and some who got overwhelmed by it all. And you couldn’t ask for a better announcer or fans. It was a wonderful way to spend part of the day.
To say I was touched by it all would be an understatement. My eyes puddled up several times during the game as I saw people being beautiful toward each other. It must have been the brisk breeze blowing dust into my eyes.
Yeah, that must have been it…