And by not all that, I mean, no miracle, and only sort of inspiring, in the way that any successful wrestler is worthy of respect considering the dieting and hard work they suffer through.
Look, it’s easy to have a weepy-wow knee-jerk reaction to Anthony Robles’ NCAA championship Saturday night–dude has one leg–but let’s calm down a bit and get sensible and scientific.
Robles, who wrestles for Arizona State, was born without that leg, so he’s really used to not having it. The kids he wrestles, they don’t practice against one-legged people, nor do they compete against them. Robles has one less limb to grab and twist. Yes, he also has one less to use, but again, he’s had that ‘problem’ his whole career, a career during which all his foes have had the same kind of body.
Here’s what one opponent had to say, in a story from the Arizona Republic in January:
“You pretty much have to get the upper hand first,” said Cal State-Bakersfield’s Tyler Iwamura, who held Robles scoreless for almost half of the first period last week. After Robles scored an initial takedown, he rolled Iwamura three times in a blur to build an 11-0 lead en route to a 19-3 win.
“It’s actually surprising how fast he is,” Iwamura said. “You think, ‘All right, he’s going one way,’ then all of a sudden he jumps sides and I’m a half-second behind.
“There are some moves I can’t do because he doesn’t have that leg. But there are also some moves he can’t do. He’s a very strong individual, I’m not going to lie. It is difficult. If he gets a hold of you, he’s not going to let go.”
No question that Robles has worked hard, no question that he’s skilled. No question that the other champions have too and are too. They also should have been highlighted by a national media that looks in on one of the world’s toughest sports only when a couple kids pose for a gay website or when ‘handicapped’ guys do well.
The only reason they didn’t get their name on a crawl is because they’re not freaky to look at.
Anthony, congratulations. You are an NCAA champ and there’s no separate division for the handicapped. Plus you’ll make a mint on the motivational speaker circuit.