It is hard to look at Anthony Robles’ life journey and not be both inspired and embarrassed. Inspired because of this young man’s journey and everything he has accomplished despite being born without a right leg. Embarrassed because his story makes you evaluate your own life and realize that so many times you backed away from something conquerable because “it seems difficult.” Your excuses seem petty compared to the victories Anthony has won.
Anthony grabbed the nation’s heart in 2011 when he finished his senior season at Arizona State by winning the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship. He went 36-0. No opponent came close to beating him despite having the advantage of having a second leg with which to pivot, move, and counter balance.
Unstoppable was the theme of Anthony’s ESPY speech in 2011, where he accepted the renowned Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Fitting because Jimmy Valvano was the one whose words “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” forever resonate in sports history. Fitting because how else do you describe a young man who believes anything is possible when you never give up?
The young man, despite only knowing life with one leg, learned to ride a bicycle, run a mile, and play defensive tackle for his junior high team. The same young man who was absolutely destroyed on the wrestling mat when he first started the sport, refused to quit. The same young man who inspired grown men to cry when they watched him wrestle in high school because his determination moved their hearts so dramatically. The young man who turned his disappointments at a young age into two state titles and walked-on to Arizona State.
This is the man who believes, “You define yourself by what you can do, not what you can’t.” Anthony Robles is a man that embodies what Compete Every Day stands for. Never let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do. You define yourself by never giving up in the pursuit of the life you want. Compete and make yourself unstoppable.