Second Chances: Jewish Perspective

“Life throws you curveballs”, Adam Greenberg

He should know.  His entire life was focused on the goal of making it to the Major Leagues and in 2005 he finally made it with the Chicago Cubs.  In his very first at bat ever, facing his very first professional pitch, he got beaned on the head and had to leave the game.  The concussion took him out of baseball and it seemed the opportunity to make it back would never happen again.  But Greenberg got back up and kept working.  His work ethic and skills were noticed last summer by Team Israel who were looking for players to compete in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Jupiter, Florida.  While Israel failed to qualify, Greenberg made the team and in his only at bat, walked and came home on a single by well known Jewish superstar Shawn Green.  Around that time, some fans who remembered his one at bat disaster, started on online campaign called “One at Bat” to give him another shot.  The Miami Marlins, who by September were way out of the playoffs, gave him a one day contact and finally on October 3rd, 2012, he got the chance to play again.  He came to the plate amid a standing ovations and cheers and promptly struck out on three pitches.

“I treated him like a big leaguer because that is why he is here”.

Said the strikeout pitcher was none other than new Blue Jay R.A. Dickey. Dickey is no stranger to second chances himself, having reinvented himself after almost leaving baseball.  Through his mastery of the knuckleball, he now is the reigning Cy Young award winner for best pitcher in the major leagues and leads the new look Blue Jays as favorites to make it to the World Series.  After striking out, Greenberg went back to the dugout all smiles, receiving hugs and high fives from his teammates.

As Jews we know about second chances.  So many of our Biblical heroes tried and tried again to succeed, until they finally overcame adversity.  As a people, we tested the patience of Elohim in the desert, frequently requiring second chances as we made our way to the holy land of Israel.  And perhaps our most famous second chance day is Yom Kippur, the one time of year when 99% of Jews come to the synagogue to repent and ask for forgiveness.   Teshuva means returning, figuring out where we missed the mark and getting another chance to do it right.  Greenberg worked hard to the get that second chance but never forgot his humility and gratitude for the opportunity along the way.  Even as he struck out he said:

“Life threw a fastball at 92 miles an hour and it hit me in the back of the head.  I got up from it and my life is great”. 

Let’s use his example to get ourselves up when life gets us down, remember that life is great, and make that second chance count.

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