The most impressive person playing baseball in this country right now isn’t towering New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who hits those huge TV-breaking home runs. And it’s not Mike Trout, who is once again, the most productive player in MLB. It’s not Bryce Harper who seems to hit everything or Chris Sale who seems to strike out everyone.
No, it’s Luke Terry, a 14-year-old from Lewisburg, Tennessee, who has one arm and plays catcher for his baseball team at Cornersville Middle School. When a pitch comes, he catches it in his glove and in one motion, flips the ball into the air, drops his glove, catches the ball and throws it. He also hits third in the order, swinging his bat with one arm.
Impressive doesn’t even do Luke justice. Awesome. Amazing. Inspiring. He’s all those things.
One-armed middle school catcher is incredible to watch https://t.co/Abq1kutlNc
— The Tennessean (@Tennessean) May 1, 2017
Think about something you want to do but just don’t you think can. Now think about Luke Terry playing catcher with one arm, because that’s what he wants to do, because playing baseball makes him happy and because, heck, he’s good at it.
Obstacles? What are those?
Luke’s arm was amputated when he was just a toddler, his mother Dana Terry tells The Battle Creek Enquirer, whose Tom Kreager wrote a must-read account of how Luke plays baseball. When Luke was 19 months old, he contracted E. coli. Doctors tried to fight it off, but it attacked his arm and eventually needed to be amputated.
As Kreager writes, that’s never stopped Luke from being a normal kid:
He hunts — during gun and bow season. He uses a crossbow during bow season. He’s bagged a 12-point buck. Luke figured out how to play video games at a young age. He’d hold the controller with his feet and use his left arm to run the remote. And he works on the family farm, which includes 100 cattle.
“He teaches himself how to do things and what’s best for him,” Dana said. “I try to show him the easiest way. Sometimes he’ll do it, but sometimes he’ll tell me he can do it his way better.”
”He doesn’t look at it as a handicap,” Dana said, a tear running down her cheek. “He doesn’t think about it. I don’t look at him any different than the other players. He’s just like them.”
That’s how he approaches baseball too. Luke figured out the best way for him to play baseball. It’s not traditional, but it works. His catch-flip-drop-catch-throw routine is something he’s mastered at this point, but just look at it — it’s not at all easy. It takes a crazy amount of precision and concentration.
It’s obvious Luke is an inspiration to people. He’s a living, catching, throwing example of not letting anything stop you. But Luke himself shrugs off all the talk about being an inspiration.
“I don’t even think about it,” Luke said of playing without his right arm. “Fans tell me, ‘You’re an inspiration.’ They want me to go a long ways.”
After watching Luke play, how could you not?
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