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The Real Catch

The Real Catch

How would you react if your child did this to you?


There is a new American hero. His name is Steve Monforto.

"Steve who?" you ask?

Good question.

Steve traveled from Laurel Springs, NJ to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to watch a Phillies game with his wife and two children this past week. In the bottom of the 5th inning, Phillies batter Jayson Werth fouled a pitch back Steve's wife, Kathleen, sat to his right, holding their 15 month old daughter on her lap. Steve's three year old daughter, Emily, was to his left.

The foul ball made its way backwards towards the upper deck but fell just short of reaching the upper deck. The Monforto's were sitting in the front row of the upper deck and Steve reached far over the railing and caught the ball before it made its way down to the lower deck. It was a great catch and a special moment.

Steve had been going to Phillies games since he was three years old and had never caught a foul ball. You could see the thrill on his face. Fans throughout the stadium cheered for him. Nearby fans bumped fists and slapped five with him. He raised his arms high in victory. He turned to his left and gave his daughter Emily a high five. Then he even handed her the ball. A truly special moment.

Until Emily did the unthinkable.

She took the ball and threw it over the railing to the section below.

Anyone watching probably braced themselves for Steve to unleash his wrath on his daughter. After all, what was she thinking? How could she do that?

But what did Steve do?

He stared at her in disbelief for a brief second with a smile on his face. Emily, perhaps because of the crowd's shock with what she did, quickly realized that perhaps she did something wrong. Steve then cradled his daughter against his chest while smiling at his wife and continued to hold Emily and caress her hair, showing her incredible love. And the smile never left his face.

Click here to watch the video of Steve and Emily



Many fathers would have been fuming. His first foul ball ever? No ball to show his buddies at work? Perhaps the mother would have to step in to comfort the young girl while the father seethed, wanting nothing to do with his daughter.

And all of that would have been caught on television for the world to see. Had Steve reacted like many other fathers, he would be seen on television stations and web sites throughout the world as the father who lost his cool because of a baseball.

Instead, Steve is being looked up to as a hero. The Phillies are being bombarded with calls from both local and national media for more information regarding the story. The family is appearing on NBC's Today Show where they are being presented with a surprise gift. One moment of good parenting has turned into a national story of great parenting.

And how easily it could have gone the other way. Think of the shame, humiliation and disgrace that an angry father would have to absorb and confront on a national level.

The "cameras" are always on us.

This story has particular relevance during the High Holiday season. During this time of year we remind ourselves that the "cameras" are always on us. As King Solomon taught in three different places: "The ways of man are before God's eyes" (Proverbs 5:21), "God's eyes are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good" (Proverbs 15:3), and "God will judge every action." (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

During these days we talk about God's judgment of all our actions. While there may be no cameras or national audience, He sees everything and records all of our deeds.

Thus, our tradition teaches: "Consider three things and you will not come to sin. Know what is above you – a watchful Eye, an Ear that hears, and all of your actions are recorded in a book" (Ethics of our Fathers 2:1).

This is the time of year when we try to internalize this lesson and now we have the perfect story to motivate ourselves to do so. Steve Monforto wasn't performing for the cameras. He was simply being himself, a caring and loving dad. And now, because of the cameras, he will forever be remembered in that way.

Let's all remember that the Divine cameras are always rolling and at every moment of our lives we can choose to have that moment remembered perpetually for the bad or celebrated eternally for the good.

September 21, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) Warren, September 30, 2009 7:34 AM

To Whom this May Concern, That probably would have been my reaction because it is "easiest to do", but then again, who knows? I am so glad that he did what he did, and it is so nice to read about such a caring dad!! There are so many people who would have reacted differently, but it is so neat to read about such a person in the midst of so many "sensational" negative stories. When I read about such a mature person, I feel really good and that sticks out in my mind. I am so sick about the negative actions that reading about this kind of correct action will stick in my mind a lot longer than the other one.

(5) SusanE, September 26, 2009 4:07 PM

Loving Fathers are Blessed

Sweet little girl !! Daddy Steve has probably said to her many times "throw the ball, honey" while playing catch in their back yard. She had quite a pitch going on there. ~ Steve had his moment albeit a short one. He caught the ball, his first foul ball and he had been coming to the stadium since he was 3. If not for the child, it would have been a brief moment of fame like a hole in one. His daughter turned it into a celebration. Well done little girl !! Why would he be angry with the child? Someone will get him his ball back or give him another autographed by the team if that is important to him..... Surely. ~ Have we let acts of hostility toward our children become the commonplace, and is this why we see this loving Father as out of the ordinary? ~ God is observing us all the time. Seems we care more about what society sees us do than what G-d sees us do, So we watch our acts because of the cell phone cameras, live cameras, and surveilance videos, Instant replay cameras in sports, and the highway intersection cameras, and the bank cameras, and the dressing room cameras, gas pump cameras, parking lot cameras, Google Earth, and satellite photos. The foul ball catch is currently on YouTube. Why are we keeping such track of people, are we trying to be like G-d? Arggggggh. Don't scratch your nose if you don't want someone to see you doing it..

(4) Esty, September 24, 2009 4:07 AM

well put

Thank you so much for this article. This is a great way to take a lesson...I think it illustrates the point of ever watchful eye beautifully...

(3) Dash18, September 23, 2009 4:53 PM


The remedy for the XBox problem is with professional help. Here is what my parent coach (on the phone) told me to say: In a monotone voice," I love you. I don't like your words/behavior. You hurt me. I won't talk to you until you are calm. : Later, including the child's input, devise an incentive system or coping method. We have both trained each other to walk away when reallly angry; and we practice that when we are calm.

(2) Anonymous, September 21, 2009 9:57 PM

Steve did the right thing but what would Steve do the same in this case?

I took away my 16 year old son's X box game because he would not stop playing. He would not even come to the dinner table. To say that he was rude to his mother and both of his sisters is an understatement. In other words there were good reasons to take it away. He then proceeded to physically challenge me. He almost hit me. He then hurled all kind of verbal insults at us demanding to have his game back. His mother asked him to go and take a walk so that he would cool off but instead he called the police to report us for stealing his X Box. Believe it or not, the police showed up and gave him a lecture that he will not forget for a long time. But, other than being horribly embarrassed and almost being smacked by my own child and taking verbal abuse, do tell me what Steve would have done? This is not a made up story. This comes from an observant family. Our son was never abused. He was never bullied in school.

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