The Triumph of Kindness

Josh Stein - Woodsburgh, New York
As heard on The Bob Edwards Show, March 15, 2013
Josh Stein

Josh Stein believes that when people come together, it’s a beautiful thing. He's seen it happen on the Little League field, in a most unexpected way.

Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that when people come together, it’s a beautiful thing. And when someone who can’t do something tries to do it and everyone else helps, that is a great moment.

One beautiful sunny day, I had a Little League baseball game. At the time it was very important to me, and I was really focused on doing well, as were the other seven-year-olds. It was our last game of the season, and we were all trying to have fun and to end it with a bang the best we could.

As the game progressed the score got close. When we had our final chance to win at the end of the last inning, it was my turn to bat. I looked over at my coach, who was talking to my dad about something—probably the stock market or something like that. As I stepped into the batter’s box, my coach called me back to the dugout. He asked me a strange yet interesting question. He asked if it would be all right if my brother hit for me.

My brother wasn’t on the team. He had never even played baseball due to his disability. He couldn’t stand, and he certainly couldn’t hit. But I responded very maturely for a kid my age. “Of course he can hit for me,” I said. I was still puzzled as to how, though. Thoughts ran through my mind, such as: Would the kids make fun of him? Would he hit the ball?

As my dad carried him to the plate, I realized that without his wheelchair he would have to be held up. The joy on his face couldn’t be traded for anything in the world. Just being on the field gave him all the happiness he needed. What will the other kids think? I wondered.

I heard someone call out, “C’mon, hit it outta here.” Then came another, “You can do it!” These words of acceptance showed me how great the moment really was. On the first swing, which was pretty much my dad holding Sam’s hands around the bat and my dad swinging, he—or they—hit the ball. The kids on the other team did something amazing then, something seven-year-olds should never know how or why to do. But in the spur of the moment, these seven-year-olds did. They purposely overthrew the ball. Three times.

Sam had hit his first and only home run. And as my dad carried him around the bases, I knew this memory would stick with me and everyone else there forever.

I’ve seen it with my own eyes. When people come together, it’s a beautiful thing.

Josh Stein is an eleventh grader at Hewlett High School in Hewlett, New York. He enjoys playing tennis, basketball, and golf and hanging out with his brothers.