The highest form of wisdom is kindness, says
the classical commentary on the Bible, the
Talmud. When you read this story, you will
Kevin was slow in learning. Slow in understanding.
Slow in doing things. And yet he had a bright
smile and a big heart. This won him plenty
of friends. When the pastor decided to put
together a basketball team, Kevin wanted
to join in. Soon basketball became a center
of Kevin's life. While the other boys practiced
dribbling and lay-ups Kevin shot baskets.
He had a special spot near the free throw
line. He threw and threw the ball, and it
occasionally went in! When that happened,
Kevin raised his arms and shouted, "Look
at me, Coach!"
The team fared badly in the Church league's
tournament. They did not win one game. And
in their last game, the boys were playing
against the team that had not lost one single
game all year.
The game went as expected, and near the end
of the last quarter Kevin's team stood nearly
40 points behind. It was then that one of
the boys called timeout. "Coach,"
he said, "this is our last game and
Kevin's never made a basket. I think we should
let him make a basket." The team agreed.
Kevin was instructed to stand at his special
place near the free throw line and wait.
He was told that when he was given the ball,
he should shoot.
Kevin was ecstatic. He ran to the floor and
waited. When the ball was passed to him he
shot … and missed. One of the players of
the other team snatched the rebound, dribbled
down the court for an easy lay-up. But a
moment later Kevin got the ball again. He
shot - and missed. The other player repeated
his performance for another two points. Kevin
shot a third and fourth time with the same
But then somehow the other team figured out
what was going on and the next time they
snatched the rebound, they threw it back
to Kevin! Kevin shot...and missed. But now
every rebound came to him and he threw and
threw towards the basket.
At this point, both teams had circled Kevin
and all of the boys were shouting, "Kevin!
Kevin!" The crowd took up the chant.
The coach realized also that the timekeepers
had stopped the clock with 4.3 seconds remaining!
They too were standing by their table shouting
with the crowd, "Kevin! Kevin!"
Kevin continued shooting and shooting and
finally one of his shots took a crazy bounce
on the rim and ... went in! Chaos reigned!
Everyone stood and cheered as if one boy
had single-handedly won the world championship.
Kevin's arms sprang up in the air and he
shouted, "I won! I won!" His team
escorted him off the court, the clock ticked
down and the game was over.
That day an undefeated team retained their
perfect record. Yet everybody had won. Everybody!
Because everybody had participated in a crazy
conspiracy of kindness, a simple act of compassion
that was so compelling, so powerful, that
made many even the angels in heaven rejoice.
It is true. If you haven't any kindness in
your heart, you have the worst kind of heart
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
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