Bob Tamasy: Almost Like a Hollywood Script!

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

As the game unfolded, it seemed to be following one of those schmaltzy, predictable Hollywood scripts – kind of like “Bad News Bears” or “The Mighty Ducks.” Only this was real life in real time, being witnessed firsthand by parents and grandparents and friends.

In the top of the first inning of a preliminary game in the 7-and-under classification of the Rick Honeycutt World Series in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., Tanner is playing the pitcher position for the Owls. (At this level, adults do the actual pitching.) Diving for a looping pop fly to his left, Tanner catches the ball, then gets up and throws the ball to third base, doubling up the runner who had left the base. He grimaces in pain, but seems to shake it off.



The opposing team, the Bats (you know they have to be good hitters, right?), proceeds to score four times, taking an early 4-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Tanner bats second, hits a single, then runs to first base. Reaching the base, however, the young fellow doubles over in pain. His left hip is hurting badly, and trying to run seems to have aggravated the injury.

After about 10 minutes of trying to comfort Tanner, it’s obvious he needs to go to the dugout and get off his feet. The umpire allows a pinch-runner, and Tanner is carried off the field by one of the coaches. The problem is the Owls are already short two players and removing Tanner from the game would necessitate a forfeit.

Perhaps inspired by their hobbled comrade, the Owls rally for five runs and take a 5-4 lead heading into the second inning. Tanner and Colt, the catcher, swap positions to enable Tanner to simply stand behind the batters and remain in the game. His parents, feeling it wouldn’t do further harm, allowed their son to continue playing.

After the Bats go scoreless in the top of the inning, the Owls score the youth league maximum seven runs in the bottom of the second, building their lead to 12-4. Tanner does bat and hits the ball, but being unable to run out the play, is thrown out at first. No problem, right? The Owls are up by eight and seem in command.

The Bats, however, have other ideas. They score seven runs of their own in the top of the third, tightening the score to 12-11, and the Owls go three up, three down, failing to score in their half of the inning. Tanner doesn’t have to go to the plate this time around.

In the top of the fourth the Bats, true to their nickname, score seven runs and take a seemingly commanding lead, 18-12, with just the last half of the fourth to go as the 60-minute clock is winding down.

Awakening from their mid-game snooze, the Owls get their own bats into action and start whittling away at the Bats’ lead. Five Owls cross the plate, closing the score to 18-17, and another single sends the tying run home.

The score is tied, 18-18, with one out, a runner on third base, and the batter coming up is…Tanner. Gamely taking practice swings, he shrugs off the pain and smacks the ball into the outfield. Determined, Tanner shuffles to first base ahead of the throw, but it doesn’t matter – the Owls’ 19th and winning run has already crossed home plate.

Fans erupt with cheers on both sidelines, applauding the courage and perseverance of little Tanner. Parents add some proud tears. A coach carries him off the field, this time with the thrill of victory. The agony is gone, at least momentarily.

If this had been a movie script, chances are it would have been immediately tossed into the “Not a Chance” circular file. But the story is true, proving sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

Not to over-spiritualize, but this seems a great illustration of the apostle Paul’s declaration, “…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” (Philippians 3:12-14).

Young Tanner played through his pain and proved to be a very unlikely hero. His teammates, the Owls, overcame adversity of their own after losing a big lead and then trailing by six runs with just one at-bat remaining. They all forgot what was behind and pressed on toward the goal to win.

It would be nice to say they all lived happily ever after, but of course for these seven-year-olds there’s still lots of story yet to be told. One thing for sure – they’ve already had the opportunity to learn a very important lesson. Even the Bats, who in this game found themselves cast in the role of co-stars. Maybe next game for them.

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

Hickory Valley Christian Church Hosts "Takin' It To The Streets"

Hickory Valley Christian Church is hosting “Takin’ it to the Streets” on Oct. 12 from 5-7 p.m. It will take place at the Bi-Lo on the corner of Lee Highway and Shallowford Road, 6951 Lee Highway. Activities will include carnival-style games, candy, prizes, face painting, an inflatable obstacle course, and a live band playing family-friendly  hits from the 60s to today. ... (click for more)

Mitch McClure Speaks On "I Sure Am Glad To Get Off This Boat" Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "I Sure Am Glad To Get Off This Boat" in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  This sermon is part of a series of sermons based on the Biblical report of Jesus that the Last Days would be preceded by events like Noah's day. Pastor McClure will lead the ... (click for more)

Man Charged With Killing 3-Year-Old Takes Own Life In County Jail

Justin Dale Bradley died in the Hamilton County jail Saturday morning. Notification was received from the Hamilton County 911 Center at   12:50 a.m. ,   regarding an inmate found unresponsive.   Jail personnel found the male inmate unresponsive in his cell and initiated C.P.R. while notifying Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services. ... (click for more)

Democratic Chairman Roy Herron Announces He Will Not Run For 2nd Term

Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron announced Saturday at a meeting of the Tennessee Democratic Party State Executive Committee that he would not be seeking a second term as party chairman. “I have been blessed to serve as chairman these past two years, and I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all of the executive committee members, party officials, staff members, and friends ... (click for more)

You’re Right With Lamar

One of Tennessee’s favorite sons, Davy Crockett, coined an oft-used phrase:  “Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Being sure is quite important, but may be difficult in this election cycle. The Democratic nominee campaigning against Lamar Alexander is a man whose radio ads call for “change,” “fair” taxes and more jobs.  Sounds good, huh?   ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Late Garden Walk

Due to a series of pressing events I didn’t get a chance to make my September walk through the garden until yesterday. It is normally my custom to take a stroll on the first day of each new month, looking for the orchids and onions that might appear, so I can award them to those among us who deserve one or the other. So before the temperatures drop, allow me to catch up: AN ORCHID ... (click for more)