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1906 - Bobby Batugo, World Champion Mixologist in the 1970s, born in The Philippines [story]


Commentary by Linda Castro
| Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

LindaCastroSometimes I start feeling sorry for myself … if only I could lose 10 pounds; if only I could hike longer distances; if only … and then I hear about somebody like Ezra Frech and I want to give myself a swift kick in the pants.

Ezra Frech is a 9-year-old boy from Los Angeles. He was born with a twisted left leg and only one finger on his left hand. When he was just 2-1/2 years old, he underwent extensive surgery to amputate his left foot and to use one of those toes to create a second finger on his left hand.

Now, Ezra uses a prosthetic leg – not just to get around but also to compete in basketball, football, karate and track and field.

“When I play sports, it makes me feel at home and I’m not thinking about being different. I just feel like I am one of the guys,” Ezra said.

Ezra does not just play sports; he excels in sports. He won eight medals at the National Junior Disability Championships this past summer. He also led his basketball team to an undefeated record. He is the quarterback of his school’s football team. And he is one of six finalists for the 2014 Sports Illustrated SportsKid of the year. The winner will be announced in December.

ezrafrenchEzra’s classmates think he is cool. One fourth grader says he is one of the best basketball players at their school. Ezra’s best friend says Ezra is “just so normal” and that he kind of wishes he also had a prosthetic leg because “it’s really good.” Ezra’s parents say his perseverance and positive attitude are incredibly motivating.

Ezra visits different schools each year to share with other children what he has gone through and how being different is not a problem. His inspirational talks demonstrate how anyone can achieve his or her dreams, no matter what the circumstances might be.

“You can do anything you want to. You can dream it, you can hope it, or you can make it happen. I choose in my life to make it happen because that’s the only way you are going to get it,” Ezra said.

So the next time you are feeling sorry for yourself and think you cannot accomplish something, think of Ezra, and choose to make it happen.

 

Linda Castro is a nature enthusiast and animal lover. She is the Desert Field Organizer for the California Wilderness Coalition and serves on the board of the SCV-based Community Hiking Club. Her articles highlight local and community stories that are heartwarming, uplifting or inspiring.

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