Monday, June 8, 2009

Sonia the Umpire

The L4K Lemonade Stand Chronicles:
Sonia the Umpire
One day as Barry and Little Timmy were "working" at the Lemonade Stand a couple of the neighborhood boys came by to see if Barry and Little Timmy would like to play some baseball. While Barry was quite good at basketball (just ask him), he wasn't particularly good at baseball. Little Timmy was even worse as he was very clumsy and, therefore, couldn't hit or catch. But Barry was very persuasive and talked Little Timmy into playing.
The neighborhood boys said they would get Ole Mr. Madison to be the umpire but Barry didn’t like that idea. He told them he would ask his friend Sonia.
“Are you sure she has even read the rule book?” the boys asked.
“I, um, think so. But I am sure she will, um, make the correct calls,” Barry assured them.
The boys didn’t think Sonia was a good choice, but they didn’t put up much of a fight. They told Barry and Little Timmy to meet them at the playground in one hour. The boys ran off to tell the other neighborhood kids.
Barry and Little Timmy went over to Sonia's house and knocked on the door. Sonia opened the door. She was wearing a "Che" shirt. Barry said, "Cool shirt, Sonia."
Sonia replied, "What? This old thing? I have two more just like it."
"Yeah, so do I," Barry said proudly.
He explained to Sonia that they needed an umpire for the baseball game. She eagerly agreed to be the umpire.
As Barry and Little Timmy were leaving, Little Timmy asked Barry, "Are you sure Sonia likes me, Barry?"
"Of course, why do you ask?” replied Barry.
"You know," said Little Timmy. And Barry did know.
The children chose teams. Barry chose all his friends regardless of how good they were at baseball. The other team had all the best baseball players from the neighborhood plus a few other players who Barry didn’t like.
Just then Sonia showed up. She was dressed in black just like a real umpire. She yelled, “Play ball!”
And the boys and girls ran on to the field.
It had been a close game. Sonia had made a few bad calls which had led to a few arguments among the teams. One in particular led to a shoving match. It was the bottom of the 6th inning and Little Ricci was on second base when a long center field drive sent him around third and headed to home base. Barry was the catcher. As Little Ricci ran past third base, he was being cheered by his teammates and even some of the other team’s players.
You see, Little Ricci had been born with a physical disability which prevented him from walking until he was almost four years old. But through hard and many weekends at an expensive clinic, he had been able to not only walk but to run (though he could not run as fast as most of his classmates).
Sonia did not like Ricci though. She always felt he had certain privileges because his father was a successful storekeeper. As Little Ricci slid into home plate, Barry just missed him by a few inches. Sonia called him out. Even Little Timmy had the look of disbelief on his face. Barry jumped in celebration and almost high fived Sonia. And Sonia winked at Barry.
It really doesn’t matter who won the game that day. Lessons were learned by all. Barry learned that it feels good to be cheered. Little Timmy learned that Barry would support him regardless of how poorly he does. Sonia learned that she can use her power for good (and “good” was whatever she said it was). The players learned that it does not matter how good they are because someone in power can arbitrarily pick and choose the winner. (What a horrible lesson to have learned!)
But Little Ricci learned an even more important lesson. He learned that he must never give in to injustice. Even though some will arbitrarily try to use their power to promote their agenda, he vowed to never allow this to happen to him again.
And the neighborhood boys learned that they had better speak up when someone wants to pick an umpire who does not know the rule book or is unwilling to apply the rules fairly. Or did they learn that? We will see.

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