One day Charlie and his dad went for a ride to the park. As they sat on the sidelines watching the other boys play, Charlie sighed, "I know those boys. I know them from school. Do you think they would let me play baseball too?"
Charlie's dad glanced down at his son. He wanted him to have fun, so he walked away to ask a boy if Charlie could play. "Do you think my son could get into the game? I know he is not very fast, but he would simply love it if you could give him a chance."
The boy turned his head towards his other team mates...looking for the answer-Hoping the decision they would make.
When no one said a single word, the boy took it upon himself to wave to Charlie---then reached into a box and gathered him a team shirt. "It doesn't matter at all to me," the boy said to Charlie's dad. "We are losing anyway...as you can see. It is now the bottom of the eighth, so we really don't have much at stake."
Charlie's dad helped his son with putting on the shirt. Then watched him as he walked away...clumsily, yet so alert.
All of a sudden, and to everyone's surprise, Charlie's team brought in five more runs-which tied the score. The bases were now loaded...but they had two outs-And it was Charlie's turn to bat now.
The field turned silent as everyone stood...to watch...and to see if Charlie could hit the ball...at all.
The umpire told Charlie where to stand, and how to hold the bat-for Charlie's disability always kept him from learning that.
The pitcher from the other team was amazed they were letting Charlie play-so much so that he moved in closer, giving Charlie a better chance to 'hit away.'
Charlie clumsily held the bat, as he allowed the umpire to help him out.
The pitcher eyed the catcher's glove, then threw the ball high and above Charlie's bat, as he swung. "Strike one!" the umpire shouted loud and strong.
"That's okay, Charlie," the umpire whispered, as he helped hold Charlie's arm. "You'll get him this time...I'm sure."
The pitcher glanced at Charlie's face and stepped in even closer towards home base. But instead of doing his pitching wound he lobbied the ball this time...slower...and closer to the ground.
Charlie swung the bat the best he could and heard the ball hit against the wood, "Run, Charlie! Run!" he heard them all say, as he dropped the bat and ran away,
He struggled to run as fast as he could-with everyone shouting, "Go, Charlie! Go, Charlie, Go! You're doing good!"
The ball Charlie hit had rolled back to the pitcher, and he placed it into his glove...but as he watched Charlie run he decided to throw the ball so high-that it could not be caught by anyone.
Charlie made it to first base, as everyone shouted, "Keep running, Charlie. Run!"
One of the players ran off of the field and found the missing ball, then threw it towards second, as the other boy's watched...allowing the ball to roll.
Charlie made it to second, and the crowd was still standing-hollering for Charlie to go. He rounded that bag and headed towards third...But now running very slow. Charlie was almost out of breath, as he struggled to push himself so.
Now all the boys from both the teams were so impressed and amazed of the courage Charlie showed.
Charlie rounded the bag once again and was heading for the home plate---when all of a sudden everyone cheered, including all of the other team mates.
Everyone wanted Charlie to make it...no one cared who won. Both teams were tied, but they all wanted Charlie to be the hero-the hero who brought in the winning run.
The boys from both teams picked Charlie up and carried him high in the air-as Charlie's dad stood back watching, amazed, by the way all the boys cared.
So you see, Charlie taught me a lesson that day. A lesson of how to be free---Free from the pressure of 'having to win'-The freedom that allowed me...just to be me!
For a team is a team-and is only a team...if you can play together as one.
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