At a fundraiser held by a school for learning-disabled children, a father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After thanking 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, Zishan, 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 silenced by this query.
The father continued. I believe, that when a child like Zishan, physically and mentally handicapped comes into this world, an opportunity is created to realise how true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.
Then he told the following story:
Zishan and his father had walked past a schoolyard where some boys, were playing cricket. Zishan asked his dad, 'Do you think they'll let me play?'
Zishan's father looked over at the boys, and was reluctant to ask, as he knew that most of the boys would not want someone like his son 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.
So, Zishan's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Zishan could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by 10 runs, will soon be going into our last over, with one wicket in hand. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat, if we lose another wicket.'
Zishan hobbled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His father watched with tears in his eyes. The other boys noticed the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the last over with one run remaining off two balls, a wicket fell.
Now, with one run remaining off two balls, the potential winning run was in reach and Zishan was scheduled to be next to bat.
Zishans father anxiously thought. At this juncture, do they let Zishan bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Zishan was given the chance to bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Zishan didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Zishan stepped onto the pitch, the bowler, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Zishan's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Zishan could at least make contact. The first ball came and Zishan swung clumsily and missed. The bowler again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Zishan. As the ball came in, Zishan swung at the ball and hit a high ball right to the fielder.
The game shouldve been over. The fielder couldve easily caught the ball and Zishan would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
Instead, the fielder dropped the ball, and proceeded to throw it right over the bowler's head, out of reach of all his team mates. Everyone from the bench and both teams started yelling, 'Zishan, Run! Run!' Never in his life had Zishan ever run that far, he scampered across the pitch, wide-eyed and startled, but he made it to the opposite end of the pitch.
As his bat crossed the line, his team-mates rushed in, and hauled him up on their shoulders. Everyone suddenly burst into cheer about the hero who had 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'.
Zishan didn't make it to another summer. He died soon after, 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!