Hello again, gentle reader, welcome back.
Its funny, well to me at any rate, how we read and see and hear things … apparently for them to go in one ear and out the other, so to speak … and then, some time after the event, said thing pops back into your head, seemingly having rattled around in our subconscious, trying to find a home in the chaos that is our mind.
I think they rattle about in our subconscious because they are trying to find a “home” and rest in peace, as it were, when they then become a tiny part of us and thus influence us from that day on. Perhaps a tiny tiny unnoticed influence, perhaps a life changing influence, but an influence in one guise or another. Of that I have no doubt.
Are you still with me, gentle reader … if so, what prompted you to read this ?
Was it the title ? was it this meandering introduction ? or just idle curiosity ?
Ah ha ! the title … just where do they come from ? that’s a little quiz, if you can be arsed !! The one thing I can tell you with certainty, is the idea for all my titles was inspired by Big Dave D who did a similar thing with his post titles … his were not random, meaningless words or phrases, thought up on the spur of the moment, oh no, his titles were quite high falluting ideas … of course some obviously were not, but I liked the high falluting ones … they made me think !
If anyone asks, I will be quite happy to explain why such and such a post has such and such a title.
As usual I have strayed somewhat, in my eagerness to explain and make things clear … have I muddied the waters instead ? Oh yes, things rattling about in the back cupboard … below you will find the text from an email I received, oh, at the end of April this year, from a guy who used to play in our golf team … cyberspace golf team that is. Now, Pete and I have never met, only ever talked while enjoying a round or two of the cyberspace links that are found on xbox live, the old original xbox live that is. Now, I was the only one who gave Pete a real email address, my works one is what I term a “real” address, the other members of the team are two guys I know and have been friends with for many a year, they were more cautious … Pete could have been … well, perhaps not a nice person … but I am the type of guy who will trust someone, up to a certain point of course, without to much thought, taking them at face value as it were … however, fcuk me over once and our friendship is over.
So over the past few years Pete and I have been in touch occasionally and then on the 30th April he sent me this … I read it once maybe twice and off it went ( I did keep the original email … hmmmmm ) to rattle about in my subconscious … and out it pops … today, now, minutes before I started this post …… know what ? I read that fcuking thing half a dozen times, the tears welling, a huge lump in my throat … each time I read it, same result !
Before you read it, assuming you are still here, let me offer a word of … advice ? … if you have children, I hope you understand why I find it such a powerful little story … is it true ? well they say fact is stranger than fiction …
If you do not have children, I doubt it will have the emotional impact that it has on me … my friend warned me that daddyhood would, quite literally, have a profound life changing effect on me … did I believe him ? before the event ? did I hell !!
Before daddyhood, I was yer average wide boy, hard as nails exterior, numero uno type of guy … and now … I still have a hard veneer outside, but on the inside ??
Tangential Warning : when I decided to start blogging, I wanted to go in no particular direction … poker and life, I suppose … but I did secretly want to emulate the “blogfather and uber it up” … I liked to write, yes write !! with a pen and paper !! when I was younger and I did suspect that this fondness for the written word would, time permitting, once more rear its beautiful head … and it looks like I was correct …. Now how many years … decades … has that love been rattling about in my subconscious … so there ya go, my first uber has appeared, with no real conscious thought on my part …
And do you know what ? bet it wasn’t what you thought it would be, ‘cause it certainly was not what I thought it would be …
I typed this in word, hey I like to write but sometimes my grammar and spelling are … well, they leave a little to be desired, shall we say … and at two pages and 900 words I think its time to let you read the story ……
How many words did I say ? well it’s now close to 1200 and that’s not including the story.
This short paragraph has been written after all of the above and after the story below, and do you know why ? I re-read the story and guess what ? same result, welling tears, throat lump … except this time I had to leave my desk, grab a cuppa coffee and go outside, smoke a cigarette and just calm down …
And what does this have to do with poker, gentle reader ? Since this is my first uber, I will explain just this once J My emotional reaction to this story is exactly what I should do when I go on TILT … get up, leave the table, go do something else, calm down.
What a revelation, not, I hear you cry … the point is, when I realise I am on tilt … my personal tilt monster is changing into the table calling station and chasing everything to the river … so, I am on tilt, but I can’t just lay it down, get up and walk away. I need the extra stimulus, the proverbial kick up the arse to make me do the walk away bit … and thinking of this story, truth or myth, is my stimulus …… what is yours ?
What would you do?....you make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway.
My question is: Would you have made the same choice?
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."
Then he told the following story:
Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay 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 to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."
Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.
All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.
"That day", said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world".
Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.
If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?
A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.
You now have two choices:
May your day, be a Shay Day