A couple of days ago, I was at my desk working, and glanced up at the television, as I do often throughout the day–it’s usually muted and set on a news channel. The image of a young boy with one arm in a baseball uniform caught my eye, and I HAD to know more. So, I quickly found the remote to unmute the TV, and that’s how I found out about the awesomeness of Riley Rhoden.
The six-year-old lost his right arm to cancer four years ago, but that didn’t stop him from trying a bunch of different sports before settling on tee ball. Figuring out how to swing a bat with one arm probably sounds like the easy part, but how would he be able to quickly catch and throw the ball with one arm?
Typically, when people catch and throw a ball, they catch it with one mitted hand, bring their hands together, then throw the ball with the other hand (like this).
Riley employs a rather unique technique to first catch the ball with a gloved hand, then throw the ball with the same hand. Here’s how he does it…
First, he catches the baseball with the mitt on his hand. Next, he quickly tosses the ball in the air, flips off the baseball mitt, catches the ball, and throws it. The motion is so fast and fluid that I had to stop and replay the video to see exactly what he was doing. When he’s done, he picks up the mitt from the ground, and prepares to do it all over again. How awesome is that!?! It’s truly Axiom Amnesia in action…
Some of you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a kid playing tee ball. Kids play the game every day.” While this may be true–that playing tee ball is no great feat for the average child–the ordinary becomes extraordinary when the participant is not the average child.
If this were a video game, Riley would be playing on one of the HIGHEST difficulty settings, yet he manages to compete well against children who don’t have his physical challenges. In my book, this makes him amazing! The fact that he does it with a triumphant attitude should give us all pause to consider how we face challenges in our own lives.
For me, this is a constant reminder that we need not do things in a traditional way to accomplish our goals. What’s important is that we yield the results we want. Exactly how we go about it can be as individual as snowflakes. As such, the legitimacy of the approach is validated by the outcome.
Check out the video below to see Riley’s story for yourself!