COLUMN: Don’t judge a man by his limbs

One-armed reporter takes up boxing

For as long as I can remember, people have told me I can’t do this or I can’t do that.

And, for as long as I can remember, I’ve taken the words of those naysayers and turned them into personal goals.

On the interior, I’m a normal, everyday chap. But, on the exterior, people feel compelled to suggest what I can or can’t do because I was born missing my left arm below the elbow.

As a young, one-handed lad dressed to the nines for my first day of school, my teacher pulled my folks aside to air those concerns.

The instructor, whose name is being withheld both to protect her identity and because I’ve simply forgotten it, wanted to put me in a special education program.

Granted I’m not a doctor, but if I’m not mistaken having one less limb than one’s peers has little impact on one’s brain cells.

Luckily, my parents, backed by the War Amps program, fought the kindergarten instructor and I was put through regular education as I should have been.

That’s when I started to notice that I was different.

Other amputees, myself included, were routinely picked last for grade school sports because of quick assumptions from our peers. In all fairness, they chose correctly in my case — I’ve always been terrible at sports. Though, that has nothing to do with having but five phalanges. I was just plain uncoordinated, un-enthused, bad.

However, I never let it stop me. As a kid, like every other young boy, I tried every sport I could: soccer, basketball, flag football, you name it.

In high school, I played defensive back for the Aden Bowman Collegiate Bears. I was terrible and only landed one solid tackle on a wide receiver in my tenure, but I still competed.

Unfortunately, being picked last doesn’t stop after graduation.

After school, I had a myriad of jobs in a plethora of different fields. One more than one occasion, my employer pulled me aside to air concerns felt by “other staff” that I wouldn’t be able to keep up due to my missing digits. I stayed long enough to prove to myself that I could do it, and then I quit because no one should have to work for an employer that doesn’t support its staff.

It wasn’t an attempt to prove to the masses that I could do what everyone else could, it was to prove it to myself.

However, there’s always been one thing that I never thought I could do because of my hand: boxing.

Enter Baxter (The One Armed Bandit) Humby.

Humby, a Winnipeg product, has won more than 15 belts and held two world titles, including the International Muay Thai Council’s World Super Welterweight Champion for a time. Humby is the only one-armed man to do so.

Granted, Humby competes in muay thai, which for those who are unaware, is a Thai martial art that utilizes fists, feet, knees, elbows and clinches, as opposed to boxing which is all about the punch.

But, if Humby can hold a champion title in muay thai, then why can’t I be equally as terrible at boxing as I am other sports?

With lofty goals of being the next One Armed Bandit and inspired by my friend and fellow Black Press reporter Dawn (Killer) Gibson’s recent boxing bout, I decided it’s time I stop telling myself that I can’t.

They may not throw you in the ring, but Ralph and Mily and Ralph Buisine of 9Round Fitness in Vernon have beat me into shape.

And, with my first class under Brian Jones, head coach of the Vernon Boxing Club, under my (non-championship) belt, that proverbial carrot on a stick is slowly coming within reach.

I hope to one day catch that carrot, though I may never have the opportunity to fight as boxers are required to have approval from a medical professional and certification from Boxing BC. However, Humby, Gibson, the Business and Jones have shown me one thing: I may be terrible, but I can still throw that hook.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Because if a one-armed man can box, you can do anything.


@VernonNews
parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Business Beat

Coal Valley Boxing reopens to public Fernie and Sparwood’s Coal Valley Boxing… Continue reading

Sparwood ramps up recreation activities

The district launched their summer camp, a street banner program, and opened the Fitness Centre

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

The Mountain Market showcases local goods

The Mountain Market is held each Sunday morning in Fernie’s Rotary Park

Summer races kick off at Fernie Alpine Resort

FAR jumps into their summer programming with mountain biking and trail running races

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read