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Hug the Dog

January 19, 2006

I just heard this story and wanted to share it.

“Last year, my young son played T-ball…Needless to say I was delighted when Dylan wanted to play…Now on the other team there was girl named Tracy. Tracy came each week. I know, since my sons team always played her team. She was not very good. She had coke bottled glasses and hearing aids on each ear. She ran in a loping, carefree way, with one leg pulling after the other, one arm windmilling, wildly in the air.

Everyone in the bleachers cheered for her, regardless of what team their progeny played for. In all the games I saw, she never hit the ball, not even close. It sat there on the tee waiting to be hit and it never was. Sometimes, after ten or eleven swings, Tracy hit the tee. The ball would fall off the tee and sit on the ground six inches in front of home plate. “Run! Run!” yelled Tracy’s coach, and Tracy would lope off to first, clutching the bat in both arms, smiling. Someone usually woke up and ran down with the ball before she reached first. Everyone applauded.

The last game of the season, Tracy came up and through some fluke, or simply in a nod toward the law of averages, she creamed the ball. She smoked it right up the middle, through the legs of 17 players. Kids dodged as it went by or looked absentmindedly as it rolled unstopped, seemingly gaining speed, hoping over second base, heading into center field. And once it reached there, there was not one to stop it. Have I told you that there are no outfielders in T-ball?

Tracy hit the ball and stood at home, delighted. “RUN!” yelled her coach. All the parents, all of us, we stood and screamed, “Run, Tracy, run, run!” Tracy turned and smiled at us, and then, happy to please, galumphed off to first. The first base coach waved his arms for Tracy to keep going. Happy to please, she headed to second, seven members of the opposition had reached the ball and were passing it among themselves. It’s a rule in T-ball that everyone gets to touch the ball.

The ball began to make it’s long and circuitous route toward home plate. Tracy headed to third. Adults fell out of the bleachers. “Go Tracy go!” Her coach stood at home plate calling her as the ball passed over the first baseman’s head and landed the empty dugout. “Come on Tracy! Get a home run!”

Tracy started home, and then it happened. During the pandemonium, no had noticed the 12 year old mutt that had lazily settled itself down in the front of the bleachers five feet from 3rd base. As Tracy rounded third, the dog, awakened by the screaming, sat up and wagged it’s tail at Tracy as she headed down the line. The tongue hung out, mouth pulled back in an unmistakable canine smile, and Tracy stopped, right there. Halfway home, thirty feet from a legitimate home run.

She looked at the dog. Her coach called, “Come on Tracy! Come on home!” He went to his knees pleading for her to come home. The crowd cheered. She looked at the adults, at her parents cheering and catching it all on video. She looked at the dog. The dog wagged its tail. She looked at her coach. She looked at the dog. Everything went to slow motion. She went for the dog! It was a moment of complete stunned silence. And then, perhaps, not as loud, but deeper, longer, more heartfelt, we applauded as Tracy fell to her knees to hug the dog. Two roads diverged on a third base line. Tracy went for the dog.”

Two road diverged in this little girl’s life. One is the road of rules and expectations set by this world and the other is the road of love. In order to run down this road that leads to Christ we must abandon our social traditions.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2006 3:00 pm

    ….you made me cry…

  2. January 19, 2006 5:36 pm

    You can’t make me cry – cuz, I’m tough. But that is a fabulous story!

  3. January 19, 2006 6:33 pm

    What a neat story. I wasn’t expecting that, either.

    Thanks for sharing it. It’s very touching and wonderful.

  4. January 19, 2006 7:55 pm

    Kleenex, please. That is a great story!

  5. January 19, 2006 10:45 pm

    We can learn a lot from that story.

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