First of all to everyone out there in the U.S., Israel, and around the world – Shana Tova…
Now onto the story.
Last night I went to the Oakland A’s / Anaheim Angels game with my family (The A’s are my second favorite team behind my SF Giants – I guess I am an SF Bay Area “homer”). Anyway, all game there was an Angels fan in front of us, just going nuts for his team and taking heaps of abuse from the hometown fans (but also dishing it out as well on us A’s supporters). During the game, Oakland Outfielder Coco Crisp hit a foul ball into the Angels bullpen and because of his boisterous cheering, the Angel’s relievers game this guy the ball.
The Angels went on to win and on the way out of the ballpark, I ran into the Angels fan in the parking lot. I clapped him on the shoulder and said; “Hey Man, You are a good fan – congrats on your team’s win tonight” and he said “thanks”. Then my Ten year old son said to him; “You are so lucky you got the ball” and what does the guy do? He gives it to my son with the promise that my son has to play with it (a promise he will keep). I thought that was one of the classiest things I have ever seen.
Yeah.. I was really touched.
I have been to over a hundred games in my life. Maybe two hundred. I have never gotten a foul ball. Ever. I always hope, every time I go that I will get a ball. I am like a little kid that way. For Forty Three (43) years since my first baseball game this is my one hope. Last night, one ball was hit two rows away, I struggled to my feet to catch it (I have a severe knee injury from Krav Maga) but someone reached up and got it first. It’s ok. Turns out it was the guy responsible for giving my wife the tickets that got us into the game. THEN, an inning or two later a ball was hit about one row back and eight or nine seats over. Close but no chance.
But no matter where I sit, I just can’t seem to catch a break. Then this happens for my son. The gesture of the guy getting the ball and then giving it him was very touching. I hope that when I catch my first ball or get one from the field that I will give it to a young fan as well. I have waited all my life to get a ball to have as trophy to connect me to the game (though I have played all my life), but I realize that Craig (the guys name) the Angel’s fan really gets the spirit of community.
HIS gesture is really what it should be. To get the ball and give it to a kid to inspire them to play ball. THAT spirit of giving is what will keep the sport alive but more than that, that spirit of giving is what will heal the planet someday.
Rather than collecting Trophies to show our achievements off, we should use those achievements to to help each other get better and help them to teach our young. I saw that in action last night. Sure the guy could be happy for his team winning and for standing for them throughout the game in the face of a sometimes hostile crowd (some of the jeering was not in a good natured manner). But here comes a guy (me) and his son decked out in Oakland A’s colors (Green and Yellow) and gear, and a fan from the other team, hands the ball to a young fan with the promise that this young fan use it to play ball.
This is the true spirit of Tikkun Olam. And this is how things should be, one little step at a time making the world better one small bit each day.