“He could have seen me as trying to throw a punch,” Isaiah Jarvis said about approaching the mound during a Little League playoff game. But that was not his intention. Not at all.
Kaiden Shelton threw the pitch that hit Isaiah in the head. Isaiah collapsed at the plate, mainly due to the shock. But the ball had glanced off his helmet, and he realized he was not hurt. After he made his way to first base, he noticed the pitcher Kaiden struggling to collect himself. “I see Kaiden getting emotional so I tossed my helmet to the side,” Isaiah said. He walked to the mound and gave Kaiden a hug saying, “Hey, you’re doing great!” He later explained, “I was trying to spread Jesus’ love and do what He would do in that situation.”
Wow. Think maybe we adults could learn something from “the hug felt ‘round the world”? Isaiah’s coach Sean Couplen thinks so. He reflected on the incident going viral. “I believe what we are seeing is that our world is tired of divisiveness,” he said. “Friendship and caring trump competition.”
What you see happening between these young men is a display of empathy. Isn’t that part of Jesus’ radical ethic, to “treat people the same way you want them to treat you,” and “love your neighbor as yourself”? (Matt. 7:12, 22:39) To do these, you must at least try to imagine what people are going through, sense what they feel and need, and react to their concerns. Sometimes more is needed than just “shake it off,” or “he’ll get over it.”
People are more important than competition. Business can take a lesson here. Making a sale cannot be more important than treating people with fairness, honesty, and integrity.
“That’s really the main take of all this,” Isaiah said about his moment in the spotlight. “Just treat others how you want to be treated.” You may not yet embrace the Christian faith but surely you can agree that when it teaches young men to live like this, everyone benefits. Isaiah shows empathy. Be like Isaiah.