April 25, 2016
Today, M-man took the field for his first day of T-ball. He overcame shyness, prying himself from my leg, and donned his LA Dodgers uniform. He looked adorable as he imitated his coach’s stance, gloved hand on his knees. He fielded and hit and ran the bases, though he did forget to drop the bat after batting. The whole time, he grinned.
In fact, the enthusiasm of all the children on the team left me energized and charmed. They patted each other on the back as they rounded bases and embraced at home, although they only met a brief few minutes before.
The afternoon reminded me of one of S-bear’s horse shows. She participated in an adapted riding program, and in the autumn, the stable hosted a show with judges and ribbons. The kids quivered with anticipation. One of S-bear’s team, a young man named David, competed in the young adult division with other handicapped kids. He sat his mount beautifully and earned a blue ribbon. A young woman who also competed in the young adult division had earned a yellow fourth place ribbon for her efforts. Dissatisfied with her winning, this young woman started to cry.
David noticed her distress and asked what was wrong. She explained she wanted to win the blue ribbon. David looked at the bit of satin and offered an exchange. The girl gave him a hug, and they switched.
When he left the arena, S-bear asked, “David, why did you give her your ribbon? You worked hard to win first place.”
He shrugged and showed her his new yellow ribbon. “I didn’t want her to be sad. Besides, I like yellow. You know, like the Steelers’ black and gold?” He leaned close to whisper. “Besides, I know I won.”
After he left, S-bear told me, “That’s a nice man. I’m proud he is my friend.”
David had earned the blue ribbon, but he felt the young lady’s happiness was the greater prize. Healthy competition is great, and it is a thrill to strive and succeed. David knew he earned first place. He didn’t need a bit of printed blue ribbon to help him remember, not if to hold it meant the tears of a colleague.
When I see such kindness and enthusiastic regard in our children, it gives me hope. Perhaps their generation will continue in a humanitarian vein. In any case, I too feel proud of David and the T-ball team and the kindness I’ve witnessed.
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