Voice of the people

A New York Times column several summers ago told of a heartening incident at a baseball game. A ball was hit into the crowd, as often happens in the course of a game. A boy of about nine tried to catch it, hoping to take it home as a souvenir. But a grown-up with a much longer reach grabbed it. And the youngster sat down looking crushed and woebegone.

Then someone in the crowd shouted, "Give the kid the ball!" Others joined in: "Give the kid the ball! Give the kid the ball!" And the chant continued to spread throughout the stands. When the adult gave the ball to the nine-year-old, the crowd noticed and got to its feet, clapping and cheering.

But that wasn't the end of the story. Someone who had caught another ball gave it to the adult. Again, the cheers from those watching were thunderous. And this led to a number of other unselfish incidents. As the Times put it, "Hundreds of fans who had been halfheartedly watching a routine game were smiling and slapping strangers on the back." The New York Times, June 20, 1984 .

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