One More Play

 In the not too long ago a teen-aged boy, James Perdue, played baseball.  Crowds cheered his hits. At home, he helped his widowed mother with house and car repairs. One night their home burnt to the ground. James and his two brothers cried. Their mother lost her husband and now her home. Silently James worked on his dream – an athletic scholarship. Grades and hits paid off; the award came! James hugged his bat then packed for college. I’ll become a pro and buy mom a new house and car.   
Then, one day in a pick-up football game, he was injured. He awoke hours later in a hospital and murmured to the doctor, “How bad is it?”  Later, the doctor told James and his family he would never walk or possibly move from the neck down. He advised, “You’d best place him in a nursing home for life.”
Like a baseball player on first base determined to slide into home plate, he reapplied to college and earned a bachelor’s degree.  Then, came job applications. Advertised vacancies James pursued were suddenly all filled when he rolled into personnel offices. James, the athlete, heard coaches’ voices in his head – “Never quit.” He had moved from first, arm movement, to second, college degree, and saw third, a job, so close. He kept rolling, pushing in his wheelchair from county to county. After a three-year search, he slid into third when Sumner County Public Schools, Tennessee offered him a middle school science contract.
James eyed home plate and smiled. The girls basketball team! Victory screams rocked the gym. In fifteen years, his teams played in twelve championship games while winning one state championship.  Longing for a victory lap, James began and finished his doctorate degree in May 2011. 
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