A goose bump story from Deadspin. Anthony Robles was born poor and one-legged in Mesa, Arizona. Anthony never met his biological father. He longed for acceptance from his stepfather who wouldn’t forgive him for the color of his skin. He criticized his step-son mercilessly and physically abused his Mother in his presence. Anthony was bullied at school and he chose wrestling to toughen up. He lost every match at first. Then he found the key… Opponents were baffled. Four years later he was a national champion. And now he planned to quit a sport just as he had come to dominate.
Whether you love, hate or are indifferent about sports or wrestling, this is one of the most powerful human interest stories that I’ve read. Some excerpts:
“The day Robles entered the world, doctors whisked him from the delivery room, to spare his mother, 16 years old and single, the shock of seeing her one-legged child. He was what’s known as a congenital amputee, and the cause of his condition remains unknown. When the doctors finally returned him to his mother, she looked her boy over carefully and predicted that the smooth declivity where his right leg should have been marked the end of her freedom forever.”
“Three years later, another doctor thought Robles would walk better with a prosthesis and fitted him with a heavy artificial leg. The boy promptly took it off when he got home and hid it behind a piece of furniture. At five, he shinnied 50 feet up a pole outside his house.”
“But if Robles was willful and assured by nature, a childhood of being stared at and taunted eventually saddled him with terrible self-consciousness. ‘I wanted to fit in so badly,’ he later said of his elementary and junior high school years. ‘For a while I tried to hide … to be camouflaged.’ But the bullies were not put off, and Robles gave up trying to disguise his differences.”