I was a wide receiver in high school. Pretty good one if I do say so myself. Ultimate excuse-maker, though. If I didn’t catch it, it was either the QBs fault, I got held, or my facemask obstructed my vision.
That mentality carried over into my work life as well. Of course me being late to the office was caused by the ineptitude of public transportation, not because I woke up 8 minutes ago. Shit, I missed the deadline for those report thingys? “I could have sworn I sent them in a WinZip file…” I hadn’t started the project.
But every now and then a story comes along that puts things into perspective. A story that exposes how my potential was stunted by excuses and procrastination. And this one really fucked my life up.
Cambridge Springs (Pennsylvania) High School wide receiver Kris Silbaugh became the all-time leader in school history for receiving yardage (915) last week after catching a 43-yard touchdown pass in a 63-0 win.
Silbaugh was born with a birth defect that left him without a left hand. Two hands have traditionally been very important, if not essential, in being a wide receiver, never mind a record-setting one.
According to USA Today High School Sports, Silbaugh always wanted to play football growing up but worried what people would say.
“I never wanted anyone to pity me,” Silbaugh said. “I hate that feeling.”
Silbaugh bottled up that feeling and worked hard to earn a spot on the Varsity squad as a freshman. Not out of pity, not as some glorified mascot, as a bonified impact player.
Now a senior, Silbaugh also plays basketball and volleyball, and clocks a lightning fast 4.4-second 40-yard dash, allowing him to torch secondaries.
“I’m pretty confident because of my speed and I just feel like every ball is a catchable ball for me. I’ve been getting a few letters from colleges, but I’m just focusing on the season. I just want to help the team in any way that I can.”
Silbaugh’s attitude is second-to-none and you can’t help but root the kid on.
“I definitely want all of the records I can get. It’s crazy that, at first, no one knew me and now I get the best guy in the secondary all the time. I still feel like I have to prove people wrong because there’s always someone in the stands that hasn’t seen me play. I know that people will always be shocked at what I’m able to do because I only have one hand, but my goal is to be known as a dominant player, period.”
[h/t USA Today]