Monday, August 27, 2012

He’s Rounding Second, Third. . . .

It’s a hot Tuesday night and parents and friends of the Utica Stallions and Sorgho Cardinals are watching the bottom of the last inning of a T-ball game held in Utica.  The Cardinals are kicking Stallion butt with most of the innings called on the five-run rule.  Once the Stallions finish at bat, the game will be over with a mark in the Cardinals win column.

During this inning, the coaches decided to experiment with Nicholas’ batting helmet since in previous at-bats, his helmet loosely wobbled on his head, thus interfering with his view.  They decided to leave his ball cap backwards on his head with the batting helmet on top.  It worked!  Loose and wobbly was eliminated; however, now Nicholas looked slightly like Darth Vader! No matter for during his turn at bat, the Force was definitely with Nicholas!

Nicholas stands at the plate to prepare for the first three free throws they pitch before setting up the T-stand.  He swings and misses the first one, but CRACK went the bat on the second pitch!  Nicholas made contact!  He HIT it!  We all couldn’t believe it and started screaming for him to run.  In reviewing video his grandmother took, it looked as if even Nicholas himself couldn’t believe he hit it.  Nicholas had a second of hesitation before tossing the bat to run for first.  Unfortunately, the Ump called it a foul ball since it didn’t leave the foul zone that sits in front of home plate.  Nicholas heads back to home plate for his final pitch which he misses.  Now, the Ump sets up the T-stand on home plate for Nicholas.  After a couple of attempts, Nick gets a solid hit off it and heads to first.  Given previous innings’ rallies and fielding success of the Stallions’ opponents, we didn’t expect Nick to make it to first base; but something went terribly wrong in the in-field.  The Sorgho Cardinals ran out of steam.  Confusion and chaos ensues in the infield as Nicholas heads to first base! SAFE!  Woohoo!  I’m ecstatic!

The next Stallion comes to bat, gets a hit, and into the infield it goes.  Nicholas, on the ready to make the trip to second, heads out for his destination.  Watching him cross that span between bases made me wonder if it felt like a mile to him.  Again, the Cardinal players fumble as to what to do with the ball.  Nerve-wracking to watch, Nicholas did it!  Safe at second!  Now, I am beyond ecstatic!  Another Stallion comes up to bat, gets the hit and off Nicholas goes to third!  As he arrives, he makes an intentional stomp on third as if to announce he has indeed arrived and safely.

The bases loaded, the next Stallion batter steps up to home plate while the entire crowd, home team and opponents alike, are rooting for this little boy on third!  SMACK off the T-stand into the infield.  A Sorgho player snags it and turns around uncertain as to where to throw it!  Nicholas is half-way home!  GO Nick, GOOOOOO!  The little gal with the T-ball turns around as other teammates converge in an effort to help make sense of the play with runners at every base moving to the next base.  Nicholas closes in on home plate, but not without typical "Nicholas flair."  As he approaches it, he places one foot on the plate and makes a slide split to SAFE!  He scores!  Nicholas SCORES!  Everyone is cheering!  I’m tearing up with joy to experience this blessing of seeing it!  YEA NICK! 

Nicholas returns from home plate with less excitement than the moment held for the three women sitting on the bleachers watching him.  What a beautiful way to end the game!

What was the final score?  It doesn’t matter.  I watched Nicholas win; not against the Sorgho Cardinals, but against cerebral palsy.  That one hit, that trip around the bases to score a run exemplified Nick’s hard work in physical therapy, the belief of his family and his physical therapist that he can achieve his goal to play T-ball with his friends, and the willpower and determination this little boy. 

THAT’S what Wendell Foster’s Campus is all about. . . . THAT’S what we do.

And now, you know the rest of the story.

In the Next Blog Entry: Get Them While Their Young - ". . . middle school teacher referenced the term “flame retardant” during a class lecture. The teacher then paused to clarify . . .  that this term was not to be confused with the word “retarded” which means "stupid." 

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