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Story Archives: What world needs is love, sweet love
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|What world needs is love, sweet love|
Editor's Note: This column first appeared in The Ouachita Citizen on June 21, 2007.
These words, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love" are from a popular Wynonna Judd song.
When I saw the story about Notre Dame's coach, Charlie Weis, and the 10-year old boy who was dying from a brain tumor, her song popped into my mind. In this day of selfishness and greed, there are still stories about love. Sports have become a win at any cost philosophy. Good role models are becoming a thing of the past, but this is a story that inspires the heart. This is a story about a coach who gave one little dying boy one last wish. His wish was to call the first play of the ball game. He told Coach Weis that he wanted to pass. Pass to the right.
Notre Dame opened up the season against the University of Washington. After the opening kick-off, Notre Dame was less than one yard from their own goal line. No one would have blamed Coach Weis for waiting until they had better field position to grant this young man's requests. But this thought never crossed the coach's mind. He passed out of his own end zone. The pass was completed for a 12-yard gain.What breaks your heart is that the young boy had died that morning, and did not get to see the play.
Coach Weis is a throwback to the old days. He is rugged. He is a little on the heavy side. He is not Rock Hudson. And yes, he still wears a flat top. But behind that rugged looking exterior is a great, big heart.
A father shared this story with me about another coach. He said he watched this coach insert a third team center into a very close ball game. This player was not even the back-up center. What the coach did know was that this young man's mother was listening to the ball game on the radio. There is nothing unusual for a mother to be listening to the ball game on the radio, but it becomes a special moment when the coach had told the boy's father earlier in the day to make sure that the mother was listening to the game.
This young man's mother was not expected to live more than a few more weeks, or even days. But for this dying mother to hear her son's name and number mentioned over the radio added one last spark of life for her. And for this young ball player to come running into her bedroom later on that night to see if she had been listening to the game. Yes she had. And yes she heard his name announced over the radio. And there was life in that room that night.
My senior year in high school, I broke my collarbone after only six games. This destroyed any chances of me reaching my goal of being selected to the All-State team. A few days after the All-State team had been announced, even though I still had made Honorable Mention while only playing in six games, it did not heal a wounded heart. Later on in the day, I received a phone call from a banker named Irving Hodge. He said that he had a gift for me.
I went to the bank immediately, and Mr. Hodge handed me a shadow box that held five silver dollars attached to a note that read. TO AN ALL-STATER, ROBERT CHARLES PAYNE, FROM IRVING HODGE.
I still cherish this gift as one of my most important.
In this day amidst a very selfish world, there are still people out there, who think with their hearts. And Wynonna is right, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love."
Robert Charles Payne is an inspirational writer who lives in West Monroe. He can be contacted by e-mailing email@example.com.