Early in the story, we find that the Trainer (Smith) "knew he had found the right jockey" in Red Pollard. Pollard was not the most congenial or well-mannered guy, but he connected with Seabiscuit, and he loved to win. In Seabiscuit's first big race, he was positioned to win; however, Pollard made a mistake that lost the race by inches. The media and the fans were all belligerent about Pollard's mistake, but the same wasn't true of the Owner (Howard) and the Trainer (Smith). "He (Pollard) was publicly accused of inexcusable failure in the most important race of his career, but he could not defend himself. Had he let on that he was blind in one eye, his career would have been over... If his blindness was the cause of the loss, his frustration and guilt must have been consuming. Howard accepted Pollard's explanation without criticism. Neither he nor Smith blamed him. Almost everyone else did" (147).
This exhibit of mercy reminded me of a story Dennis Rainey recently shared in one of the devotionals from
"For many years Bob Brenly was the starting catcher for the San Francisco Giants. But because of a last-minute lineup change on this very date in 1986, he was pressed into duty at third base. Everything was going fine ... until the fourth inning.
That's when he committed not one, not two, not three, but a record-tying four errors in the same inning--including two on the same play. In fact, he almost had a fifth error. "I missed a head-high line drive that tipped off the webbing of my glove and went into left field," Brenly said. "If they hadn't called that one a hit, my name would have stood alone in the record books."
The home crowd booed. His coaches and teammates avoided even looking at him. But his manager left him in the game. Good thing.
When Bob came up to bat the following inning, he smashed a solo home run. His next at-bat was a two-run single in the seventh to tie the game. And with his final plate appearance of the day in the ninth inning, he stroked a game-winning homer. His manager later commented, "This man deserves to be the Comeback Player of the Year for this game alone."
Have you ever had someone believe in you, even when no one else did?
Are you looking for ways to give second chances to people who are on the verge of a breakthrough?