“You can’t do that because you’re _____.”
“Oh yeah? Just watch me.”
That’s the typical conversation Roman Sweeney has with critics who doubt his physical ability. Roman was born without legs and given up immediately for adoption in his home country of Russia. Like Paralympic star Tatyana McFadden, Roman was blessed with an adoption at the age of six by an American family. He grew up playing tennis and baseball, but like previously highlighted competitor Zach Hodskins, basketball was Roman’s passion.
Since Roman was also born with a stub for a left arm, he taught himself to hold the basketball and shoot with his right hand. Earlier this year Roman saw an opportunity to go out for the North Central Charter Essential School’s basketball team and the 5’4 senior felt he was up to the task. People would tell him he couldn’t because of his disability and Roman would kindly respond and tell them to watch him compete. Standing tall on two titanium legs, Roman has made three three-point baskets through his team’s first seven games.
Roman isn’t trying to be an inspiration but hopes that if people “believe they are not good enough, they’ll look at him and say, ‘Well, his circumstances aren’t that good but he still plays with his heart and can contribute as well,’” he told Prep Rally. Roman even caught the attention of Boston Celtics future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, who was himself inspired by Roman’s story and play. “Wow, that’s true determination,” Kevin told reporters.
Roman plays with his heart – giving it everything he has every play, to prove that he can do what others think he can’t. Isn’t that why we compete? Isn’t that why we put ourselves out there – to show that our limits aren’t what others place on it? Way to set the example Roman, continue to compete every day.