What's really to be won?

When I was growing up in our neighborhood, we learned a lot of lessons together on the baseball diamond, basketball court, and football field. Some were lessons about winning. There were sad lessons, too, when we lost sight of things that mattered more than winning a game.

One important lesson had to do with a fellow named Jack. Jack lived down the street from our house. He was a couple of years older and ready to be everyone's big brother. Jack had a serious disability; he was born with it. The memorable thing was that Jack's disability seemed to make him stronger, more caring, and more understanding toward the rest of us. He had to work a lot harder to join in pickup games; he never complained about his disability—at least not around the kids in the neighborhood. Sometimes he played so well that we would momentarily forget about the disability and yell just as much at him as anyone else when he missed a play.

August 21, 1989

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