I met a group of athletes on Tuesday. Big, strong, confident softball players. Oh, by the way each was missing at least one limb. Some were missing two.
They were members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team that travels the world to demonstrate the “…sacrifices and resilience of our military, and highlight their ability to rise above any challenge.”
I watched them practice, then play a group of players who had all their arms and legs.
They were good. I used to play a lot of softball, and believe me, these men could play. They fielded hot grounders. They slid on their bellies stretching doubles into triples. They were like piranhas on fresh meat when a fly ball arched into the outfield. And man, could they hit.
They lost by a couple of runs, but they played tough. Their opponents didn’t let up or “let them win.” Both teams earned every run in a back and forth seven inning game. It was a nail biter to the end.
After the teams had congratulated each other, one player who was missing an arm had to pay off a bad bet he made before the game. He told his opponents that if his team lost, he would challenge the most athletic player on the other team to a push up contest. He performed his with one arm. In the end, after doing more pushups than I could in a week, he lost by a nose (the guy he challenged happened to be a Marine Drill Instructor), but the point was made. He hadn’t let a missing limb slow him down one bit.
And I guess that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
To find out more about these athletes, check out their website.