March Madness is in full swing, so I thought, “Why not post a video of how I shoot a basketball?”
I’ve always loved playing basketball. You can see the joy on my face in this video from 1987. (I think this was the only time I ever played basketball with my prosthetic arm.) There’s just something about that “swish” as the ball goes through the net. Even better if the net is made out of chain. I’ve never played organized basketball, either for school or a rec league, but I’ve always played with my friends. Mostly we play 21 and I hold my own. Usually.
I remember once when I lived in Minnesota, I went to a park to play with my roommate. He was a black dude from Milwaukee who gave himself tattoos while we watched TV at home. I was the only white kid at the park. I called next game over and over, but they never let me in, so finally I just marched my little self out onto center court and stood there defiantly. “I’VE. GOT. NEXT,” I said sternly. A few of them laughed, but they could sense I was serious and they let me pick my team. I was so amped-up, I was flying around the court, making shots left and right. At the end of the game, they all gave “the white boy” his props…and I promptly left while I was on-top. Genius move, I think.
It was only on my way home that I thought, “Not only am I white, but I have one arm.” Not a single one of them mentioned it and Jehmel, my roommate, never said it was a factor, but part of me wonders.
Regardless, that day I proved I could hang with the big boys.
Literally. Every one of them was about a foot taller and at least 100 pounds heavier than I was.
(My only regret in the video below is that I didn’t block one of Sam’s shots and scream in his face. That would have been epic.)
Checkout Kevin Laue as an example of a guy with one hand who’s really good at basketball!
So, when my friend Travis told me that Kyle Maynard was coming to Wisconsin this weekend, I got really excited.
I used my trick and emailed Kyle earlier this week and when he responded, I was over the moon!
After a rough start (car trouble), I made the two hour trek to Tomah from Madison and arrived just as Kyle’s book-signing session was starting.
Me and Kyle
After meeting Kyle briefly, I hungout with his best friend and manager, Joey, for the next hour and a half. Joey is great. It was a blast to connect with him and pick his brain about speaking and publishing.
The hosts of the event invited me to stay for dinner and afterwards we all headed over to the high school to watch Kyle’s presentation. There were probably a thousand people there! And Kyle’s talk was fantastic. Poignant, hilarious at times, powerful…he has a gift for challenging and encouraging others. If you haven’t read his book, No Excuses, you really should. He wrote it when he was 19 and it’s perfect for kids and adults alike. His “No Excuses” message is still prevalent, but as he said, “If you come across someone who’s positive 100% of the time…RUN.” He realizes that we all have those days and even those periods in our life when excuses creep in, but how do we respond to those times? Do we let them keep us down or do we get back up, dust ourselves off and move forward? He challenged us to get rid of one excuse last night. We can all handle that. So, what’s one excuse that is keeping you from what you want to be doing? From your dreams?
Get rid of that excuse.
He also spoke about finding your purpose, your “why.” When we know our why, there’s no how we can’t overcome.
It was so fun to watch all the people talk to Kyle after. Seeing their smiles and tears and hearing them laugh; clearly that’s what it’s all about for Kyle. Hearing their stories.
Yesterday was an experience I won’t soon forget. Kyle and Joey were both gracious and kind and I count myself lucky to have gotten the chance to get to know them. And to top it all off, Kyle agreed to do a little interview for LOH! “Joey, can I borrow you for a minute?” I asked, needing a camerman. Yeah, I probably could have phrased that differently. Oh, well. Enjoy!
Make sure you go to Kyle’s website and checkout the videos of him being super famous. You can also follow him on Twitter. And the documentary about his quest to fight MMA, A Fighting Chance, is on Hulu (naughty language alert).
I found out recently that playing football is one of the only times my friends think about me having one arm. One said, “I remember playing football one time and not even thinking about you having one hand until you made this amazing catch going deep and stopping in my tracks like, ‘Wait, how the heck did he just do that?'” My friend Steve said, “The only time I am really conscious of the fact that you only have one arm is when we are playing football and I am the quarter back. I know that if I throw the ball towards your left shoulder, it’s going to be extremely difficult for you to catch the ball! So, I am forced to think a little bit more when I am throwing to you, and I really try to throw to your right side.”
I’ll be making many more videos of me playing sports, I’m sure, but for now here’s one of me playing catch with my son. I figure it’s better just to see it done than to have me try to explain it.
Pounding nails is quite the trick for someone with one hand.
I would know.
I’ll tell you the most frustrating ones to pound, though. You know those cheap book cases you get from Walmart or Target? The ones with that fake-woodgrain piece of thin cardboard you have to unfold and nail to the back of the case. Yeah, that situation is insanely frustrating. And I know those are technically brads or whatever, but still…frustrating.
I’m not much of a handy-man (ha) per se, but I’ve used a hammer and nails enough in my life to know…it ain’t easy. I also know that I haven’t tried many other methods of doing it. I’m sure there are countless tools or helps or methods out there, I just haven’t used them. Again, necessity is the mother of invention, and let’s be honest…it’s rarely necessary for me to nail stuff together.
So, this is how I do it. One way, at least. If you have a cool way of doing it, I’d love if you made a reply video! And if you have questions or ideas, post them in the comments section. I promise to respond. And if I don’t, you can totally nail me on it. GET IT? See what I did there?!
One time my brother Joey took me to show-and-tell.
His classmates asked me all kinds of questions about what I was able to do.
“Can you tie your shoes?” “Can you ride a bike?” And someone asked, “Can you drive a car?”
I remember thinking that was a dumb question. I don’t think I said it (I hope I didn’t!), but I thought, “How do you think I got here?”
I learned to drive just like everybody else I knew. I took driver’s ed, where I was called Roger most of the time because it turned-out my instructor was my uncle’s (and dad’s) gym teacher when they were my age. “No, Mr. Nording, it’s Ryan. Roger is my uncle,” I’d remind him. It also turned-out that my dad was living in Mr. Nording’s old house. Anyway…I digress.
My driving test was a piece of cake, other than the one point I got off for parallel parking too far away from the curb. It was the drive home I screwed-up. My mom was adamant she drive home, but somehow I convinced her to let me instead. We pulled into our driveway and saw smoke. I guess I was nervous because I was riding the brakes the whole time. Sorry, mom.
I’m happy to report that after nearly 20 years of driving experience, I’ve only caused one accident. And that was just a bump. Literally. I took a corner in the snow and just kept slowly sliding toward this person stopped at a red light. I could see them staring at me as I muttered, “Aw, crap.” There wasn’t any damage, but they called the police anyway. After that my memory gets hazy.
As I say in the video, I’ve never had to modify my vehicles in any way. Sometimes it’s a pain to pull the door shut because I have to reach across myself to do it, but it’s not a big deal. Also, going through the drive-thru is a challenge. If you want to try it yourself, the next time you go through one, only use your right hand. I dare you not to drop the change they hand you.
Ok…I’m going to go sit in my Buick Time Machine now and listen to some Spin Doctors.