December 16, 2012
Sometimes there is a heartwarming hockey story that just keeps getting better and better. Meet Josh Arnold — the minor hockey goalie in Farmington Hills, Mich., who was born without a left hand yet catches the puck on that side.
Amy Lange of FOX 2 Detroit news tells a remarkable tale of about Arnold, a boy in Grade 6 who plays for a team called the Moose with his twin brother Eli. The boys were born in South Korea and adopted by their parents Christine and Bruce, who himself grew up playing sports, including football, despite having only a left hand. They worked with the University of Michigan and Vaughn Hockey, which makes custom goalie gear, to give young Josh a prosthetic and a custom glove.
"I've always just wanted to be a goalie ever since I was really young," Josh Arnold told Amy Lange. I just was like really nervous — how am I going to play goalie with one hand? There's got to be a way."
Josh Arnold, of course, is not the only person who is sporty even though the development of one of his limbs was incomplete. Perhaps saying someone competes "despite being born without a left hand" is unfair. Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott got by while throwing and catching the ball with his left hand. One-armed athletes have also thrived in basketball, such as see American high school baller Zach Hodskins. In Canada, the Thompson Rivers WolfPack men's basketball team recently had a 7-foot-2 shot-blocking and rebounding force named Greg Stewart, who was born with nothing below his left elbow and wore a prosthetic.
The challenges Josh Arnold faces should not be glossed over. Being different creates the potential for misunderstandings, especially among children. But his father, who only has his left hand (and is seen lacing up his son's skates in the story), probably faced it.
"I was like, 'move along, you can do it,' " Bruce Arnold told FOX 2. "There's no sympathy here."
It offers a reminder that limitations are all mental, not physical. Chances are, teams in Josh Arnold's league might not have known about his uniqueness without the publicity.
"Sure you're different but different isn't a bad thing," he told Lange. "You can do anything other people can do."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.