Braeden and Blake’s Friendship Fits Like a Glove!

“Do you want my other glove? I don’t need it.”

These were among the first words spoken by Braeden when he met Blake.  They had just arrived, with their families at an amazing summer camp with NubAbility Athletics in Tamaroa, Illinois.

According to their Facebook page:

We exist to encourage and instruct limb-different kids how to compete in mainstreamed organized sports like little league or school athletics. We don’t us excuses. We hate the word disability. We compete because we can!

Blake is an adorable 4-year-old, the son of a dear friend and client of mine. With her permission, I am sharing their message.

One of the most beautiful things about the human race is that we are all different in some way.

Can you imagine how boring the personal ads would be if we were all the same?

   Single white male, average height, average weight, blah blah blah…talk about vanilla!

Blake was born missing his right hand. In the language of limb-difference, it is referred to as a nub. He’s got one…and sometimes the world reacts poorly to it. While it may be done out of curiosity more than malice, it still hurts.

Last Fall, during a Vision Board  event I was conducting for members of her team, my friend and I had an amazing conversation about Blake. She knew of a former major league pitcher named Jim Abbott who was born with the same nub as her son. Although he felt pressures and mistreatment from others, to be sure, he stayed focused on his dream and became a major league pitcher. In September 1993, he pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. Even though he was a Yankee at the time (and I am a diehard Red Sox fan), I still applauded this achievement ‘til my hands hurt!

Like many people who have great ideas, my friend thought it would be great to reach out to him.

Unlike many people who have great ideas, she actually DID it!

Jim Abbott was gracious enough to share a message of hope and overcoming for Blake, just as he had done in HIS childhood. Signed photos and notes made Blake’s family smile.

What they also learned is that there is a place called Camp NubAbility, where limb-different kids and their families gather to learn how to play the game of life ‘full out’ while they proudly wear their NO EXCUSES t-shirts!

On the first day, Blake met Braeden, who is already his best friend (and rocks a Mohawk with the best of them)!

With his cool, nonchalant question: “Do you want my other glove? I don’t need it”, Braeden showed the world that his other glove isn’t a waste, isn’t a throwaway, isn’t an ‘extra’.

It does have a place to fit perfectly in this world…on the hand of his new best friend.

Has the world told you that you are different? That you are not complete? That there is something wrong with you because you are not exactly like everyone else?

Here is the irony:  the people who make fun of others are the ones who are missing something. They do not have a whole heart capable of love and acceptance.

My friend got to witness happy campers with a variety of limb-differences:

  • a young lady who rocks the volleyball court…with her feet!
  • a young man running on prosthetic legs who was so determined to clear track hurdles that he landed on his face several times until he made the last one.
  • a young lady with no arms who swung a bat held between her chin and shoulder…and got a hit!

Every single one of them rocked the world of the other campers, leaders and family members.

Want to see the living definition of a cool bunch of winners?

Watch this:

We all belong in the game.

We are all different, not damaged.

Camp NubAbility has it right:  “We compete because we can!”


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