The NCAA wrestling championship wouldn't usually catch my eye (I don't know much about the sport -- my only exposure to it was through Saved by the Bell when Slater was on the team, then Tory during the awkward years when no one mentioned that Kelly was missing), but Anthony Robles' wrestling story stood out.
A college senior at Arizona State University, Robles defeated Matt McDonough from Iowa State to become the national champion in the 125-pound weight class. While most of the nation was focused on college basketball this weekend, Robles' story should have taken center stage.
Not only because he's a champ, but because he's a champ who was born without a leg.
Robles credits his parents for making him believe he could do anything his brothers, cousins, and friends could do:
My parents really encouraged me. Whatever I wanted to do, my parents were right there behind me pushing me on.
Robles also believes in hard work, and when the team would run the stadium stairs for training, so would he; when the team would run up mountains, so would he. The only difference is that he used crutches, and probably a little more heart, to complete the strengthening requirements.
He went undefeated all season, and capped it off with a 7-1 victory match for the national championship. And when he won, the announcer declared that impossible is nothing.
Critics say that Robles won his 125-pound weight-class because, well, he had an advantage with only one leg -- his weight and therefore strength were distributed to other areas like his shoulders, back, and core, giving him an advantage on the mat. Listen, I've never wrestled anyone with one leg, but I've got to instinctively assume that a missing leg is a disadvantage. Don't wrestlers grab each other with their legs, and anchor themselves with a spread-eagle pose? (Huh, maybe Saved by the Bell wasn't such a waste of my youth after all.)
Regardless, Robles shows us that with determination, work-ethic, and a good spirit, you'll always have one leg up on the competition. And thank you Mr. and Mrs. Robles for encouraging and helping your son reach his goals.
What do you think of Robles' story?
Photo via thesundevils.com