A man is walking down the street in Dublin when he hears a woman screaming
and detects a faint smell of burning in the air. He runsdown the street
and around a corner and sees a huge group of people standing watching a
blazing building. On the tenth floor of the building a woman, clutching a
bundle to her chest, is leaning out of a window screaming for someone to
save her baby.
The man steps forward and calls up to the woman, "Throw down your baby and
I'll catch it!" "No! No!" the woman shouts back. "You might miss or drop
my baby and she'll be killed!" "No I won't!" shouts the man. "I am Alec
Maguire. I'm the goalkeeper for Ireland's national football [soccer] team.
I've never missed a match in ten years and in all that time I have never
let the ball into my net."
"What? Not once?" calls the woman. "No!" shouts back the man. "Not once.
Every football player in the world agrees that I am the best goalkeeper
there has ever been".
And with that he adopts the classic goalkeepers stance - legs apartand
slightly bent at the knees, body slightly bent forward at the waist and
with his arms stretched downwards at a slight angle away from his body,
with palms facing forward. "OK!" screams the woman. "I'll trust you. I've
no choice! Here she comes!"
So, with the flames roaring all around her, the woman throws the baby from
the window. However, the edge of the baby's shawl catcheson the woman's
watch with the result that the child goes spinning off to one side,
tumbling head over heels and with her little armsand legs flailing. The
woman screams and the crowd gasps, all sure that the baby will perish
because she will fall out of reach of the man.The man remains motionless
as the child descends, spinning and tumbling further and further away from
him as she comes.
Then when the baby is only feet from hitting the ground the man dives a
full 30 feet across the pavement [sidewalk], catches the baby in his
outstretched right hand, pulls her in towards his chest and shields her
body with his left hand and arm. He hits the ground heavily on his right
side and lies motionless on the pavement for a few seconds. Then, slowly,
he raises himself to his feet and turns to face the crowd and everyone
sees that the child is alive.
The crowd is awe-struck. Then the crowd erupts with cheers and the woman,
still in danger herself, nearly faints with relief. The man,still
clutching the child to his chest in his right arm, waves to the crowd of
onlookers to acknowledge their appreciation.
Then, slowly and gracefully, he turns away from them, bounces the baby
twice on the ground, and kicks her 60 yards down the road.