A Little Guy Make a Big Hit - A Preemie Story

Lessons on life from the Little League.

By Chris Boureois

My sons, Jake and Taylor, play on a baseball team. Their team is made up of 7 and 8 year olds, so they are the younger part of the team. That still doesn't change the fact that they look more like 5-year-olds than 7. Taylor is just on the team for the t-shirt and reward at the end of the season. Jake, on the other hand, has been working on fielding, throwing, hitting, running and, yes, stealing home for months. He has been watching the pros and at one point attempted a bunt (much to the amazement and amusement of his coaches).

The other day when Jake went up to bat, one of the parents from the other team remarked, "Wow. Is he little!" That made my proud, over-protective Mommy ears perk up. I was ready to pounce on the man if he dared to say anything bad about my boy! We proceeded to watch as Jake slugged the tar out of the ball and made it safely to base. Now, making it to the base is key, because Jake is NOT the fastest child. Jake went on to score for his team - he never even thought about slowing down at 3rd - he just kept on going until he touched home base.

The next time Jake was up at bat, that same dad said to the person next to him, "Look at this kid. He's a ball of fire. And he can hit!"

Well, I almost cried. Jake will never know that he taught an adult something that night. A stranger looked at Jake - small and wearing plastic braces on his legs - and made a snap judgment. Almost as fast, his opinion was changed. I would like to believe that maybe this man will think twice before judging someone by appearance.

I am constantly reminded what is really important in life. There are days when these lessons are pushed from my mind because of everyday life "things" that are given more importance than they deserve. But, I would like to think that when it really matters, the lessons I have learned (and am still learning) will be with me when I need them.

Chris Boureois is the mother of Jake and Taylor, who were born at 24.5 weeks in May of 1993 weighing in at 2 lbs. (920 grams) and 2 lbs. 1/2 oz (922 grams), respectively. Taylor's road was a steady one. Few steps backward and home with no aids after 101 days in the hospital. Jake came home at the same, but his road was bumpier. He battled NEC, a double hernia and a talent for yanking his tube out, so he had to be re-intubated almost daily (sometimes more). He came home on oxygen and a monitor and shocked everyone when he got rid of both after less than 2 months. At 18 months, Jake had strabismus surgery and wears glasses as does his twin sister. Now he wears plastic leg braces because the peritoneal nerves in his right leg never developed