No Excuses by Kyle Maynard

no excusesjpgKyle Maynard is a “congenital amputee” who was born with arms that end at the elbows and feet on the end of legs that end at the mid-thigh. However, in his early 20s, he is a championship wrestler and an excellent student. His low center of gravity and upper body strength, hard won through hours of weight training, are great assets in his sport. His motto is “No excuses.” If he loses, he treats it as a way to learn, to do better the next time.

A smart athlete as well as a strong one, Kyle exploits his unique body shape mentally as well as physically. Most of his opponents have never wrestled anyone with a body type like his, and he uses their momentary confusion and hesitation to gain an early advantage.

Kyle’s family constantly reminds him that he is not a “broken” or “disabled” person, but one with unique strengths and abilities. They never forced him to use prosthetics, but allowed him to develop his own style of getting around on all fours in what he calls his “bear crawl.” As a football player in middle school, he developed moves such as the “butt roll,” which he used to entangle himself in the offensive team’s legs and bring them down for the tackle. He can bring his arms together in front to hold most anything the rest of us can. He is an excellent horseback rider among other things, and has handwriting more legible than average!

In short, there is almost nothing Kyle cannot do, because he keeps on trying. He is not daunted by being different from other people. His grandmother taught him at an early age to say “Hi, I’m Kyle” to anyone who stared at him. This breaks the ice and makes him seem more approachable, helping people to see him as a person just like any other. In fact, facing his challenges with such courage and imagination has made him better than most, because he never allows himself to be crippled by fear.

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