The Defining Moment

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#519: “The Defining Moment”
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Luke 22:26

26But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

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The Defining Moment

“The Defining Moment” is episode #519 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Marshal Younger, and originally aired on May 31, 2003.


After a disappointment in the last inning of a game, Marvin Washington looks to his cousin, Xavier, to show him how to be a hero.


In the City League baseball game the Odyssey Panthers are playing the Odenton Barons. After being so close to winning their first game of the season, Marvin misses the fly ball that leads the Barons to victory. Marvin disappears to his room and his dad finds him hiding under his bed. When Marvin mentions he wants to quit, his dad reminds him of the story of Gary Shepard. The famous pitcher for the Braves had one bad game and let it ruin his entire baseball career. His dad reminds Marvin that it was only a Little League game and there were only parents watching, while Gary Shepard had millions of people watching.

There is a game the next day. Marvin tells his dad that he doesn’t feel well so he won’t have to play in the game. His dad agrees to let him stay home and Xavier decides to stay with him. Xavier tells Marvin that he can be the hero of the team, he just has to practice. During the next game, Marvin is last at bat with the chance to win the game for the team.

After practicing, Marvin feels confident in hitting, but his dad, also the coach, decides to put in a pinch hitter, instead. They still lost the game and Marvin is left disappointed. His dad questions if he did the right thing.

In the final game of the season, Marvin’s dad doesn’t let him start. He tells Xavier that Marvin can be a hero in his own way.

At the end of the game, one of the batters is hit with the pitch and Marvin is chosen to run the bases for him. Marvin says he wants to pinch hit for the last batter so he can win the game, but his dad says he needs him for his running ability. Marvin slides into second base, breaking up a double play. The last batter, Ashley Jenkins, hits a home run to win the game for the team. Marvin comes to realize that he’s still a hero because he helped to make Ashley’s home run possible.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why does Marvin want to quit the baseball team?
  2. After he’s been practicing in the backyard, what happens when Marvin is the last batter in the game?
  3. The hero isn’t always the home-run hitter. We can be a hero by making sacrifices and helping out other people. What are ways that you can serve others?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Ashley Jenkins Brice Keltner
Ed Washington Mark Christopher Lawrence
John Whittaker Paul Herlinger
Marvin Washington Jordan Calloway
Max Hampton Jeffrey Noah
Umpire Mark Christopher Lawrence
Xavier Washington Niles Calloway

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Elaine Washington Xavier Washington


  • This episode sees Marvin Washington join the ranks of several Odyssey kids who have struggled with confidence on the ball field over the years. These include Henry Thomas and Sam Johnson from #240: “And the Glory” and #358: “The Secret Weapon”, respectively.
  • During this episode, Xavier Washington mentions a team called the "Coyotes" as the opponents the Panthers will be playing. This could be the Odyssey Coyotes coached (at least in previous years) by Tom Riley.
  • Ed and Marvin have a discussion about a pitcher for the Braves who choked during the World Series "a couple of years ago" and retired from baseball early. This would mean they were discussing the 1999 World Series (the last time the Braves appeared in it). The 1999 World Series contained no 9th inning winning play in the final game. However, in Game 3 of that series (the second to last game), pitcher Mike Remlinger allowed a game winning home run in the bottom of the 10th. Remlinger, unlike the mythical Gary Shepard, continued to pitch until 2005 after being an All Star in 2002. Matching more closely to Ed's story is the 2001 World Series (which was an actual "couple of years" before the broadcast date of this episode though it featured the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees) which was decided in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded when Luis Gonzales got a walk-off single off of Mariano Rivera. Rivera also continued to pitch for another two years, retiring after nineteen years in the major leagues. The story might also have been inspired by the then-recent case of Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel who in 2000 developed a case of the "yips" in a championship game against the Mets and began throwing inaccurate pitches midway through the game (the condition Ed attributed to Shepard). At the time this episode aired, Ankiel was still struggling after being sent down to the minor leagues. Also unlike the mythical Shepard however, Ankiel eventually returned to major league ball in 2007 as a right fielder (Marvin's position in this episode).



Xavier Washington: You have a weird family, Uncle Ed. I'm getting a sandwich.

Ed Washington: Do you know where you are, Max?
Max Hampton: On the ground?
Ed Washington: I mean what park.
Max Hampton: Yellowstone?

Marvin: There's not gonna be a next game. I'm quitting.
Ed: That's too bad. I need a right-fielder. Richville's got a lot of lefties. Could be a lot of balls going to right.
Marvin: Put Joey out there. He can catch better than me.
Ed: But Joey's my left fielder.
Marvin: Then put a porpoise in right field!

Ed: Dinner should be ready in about half an hour. And I'm not sliding under the bed. Goodness knows how long it would stay here!