— AND SHOULD ASSIST TO OUR
“MY58 SUPERSTAR” OF THE WEEK.>>I LOVE THE BEAUTY OF THE
GAME. I LOVE BEING OUT THERE, FEEL
EXHILARATED EVERYTIME I HIT A
TENNIS BALL. MICHELLE: FOR ROGER CRAWFORD,
THE SPORT OF TENNIS MIRRORS
LIFE’S DAILY CHALLENGES.>>TENNIS REALLY CHANGED MY
LIFE BECAUSE IT WAS SOMETHING
THAT I COULD BE SUCCESSFUL AT. GROWING UP WITH A PHYSICAL
CHALLENGE, I DESPERATELY WAS
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING THAT MADE
ME FEEL LIKE ALL THE OTHER KIDS. MICHELLE: BORN WITH THE RARE
CONDITION, ECTRODACTYLY.>>I TELL EVERYBODY, ONCE YOU
MEET ROGER THE FIRST TWO
MINUTES, YOU DON’T EVEN SEE HIS
HANDICAP. MICHELLE: ONE FINGER ON HIS LEFT
HAND. TWO ON HIS RIGHT.>>YOU PROBABLY NEVER THOUGHT
ABOUT HOW DOES HE SERVE? HE CAN’T HANG N A BALL. MICHELLE: THREE TOES ON HIS
RIGHT FOOT. A PROSTHESIS ON HIS LEFT LEG, IT
— AND IT WAS AMPUTATED WHEN HE
WAS FIVE.>>I GREW UP IN HOUSEHOLD THAT
TOLD ME OVER AND OVER AGAIN, YOU
DON’T LIVE IN PITY CITY. MICHELLE: FOR MORE THAN 44
YEARS, TONY COACHED ROGER TO
STAY IN THE GAME.>>IT WAS THAT CONSTAN
IMPROVEMENT THAT CHALLENGED ME
TO SEE IF I COULD MAKE HIM A
BETTER PLAYER. AND HE BOUGHT INTO IT. FOR ABOUT TWO YEARS, WE HIT THE
BALL BETWEEN THE SERVICE COURTS,
BECAUSE HE WASN’T STRONG ENOUGH
TO CARRY ON A FULL LENGTH RALLY. OF COURSE, BY THE TIME HE BECAME
A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL, HE
MADE THE VARSITY, AND HIS
WIN-LOSS RECORD WAS 46 WINS AND
SIX LOSSES. MICHELLE: THEN IT WAS OFF TO
COLLEGE, WHERE THE BALL WAS ONCE
AGAIN IN HIS COURT.>>OFTENTIMES, WE UNDERESTIMATE
OURSELVES, RIGHT? AND WE OVERESTIMATE OUR
OBSTACLES. MICHELLE: HE MADE THE TENNIS
TEAM AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
UNIVERSITY.>>CONSISTENCY IS MORE IMPORTANT
THAN PERFECTION. AND SO, THAT’S HOW I
COMPENSATED. IT WAS JUST GIVING MYSELF ONE
MORE CHANCE TO BE SUCCESSFUL. MICHELLE: A 22-11 RECORD AT LMU,
HONORED AS THE FIRST AND ONLY
DIVISION ONE ATHLETE TO COMPETE
WITH FOUR IMPAIRED LIMBS.>>I WASN’T THE FASTEST, AND I
WASN’T THE MOST POWERFUL, BUT I
LEARNED THAT IF I COULD HIT THE
BALL OVER THE NET ONE MORE TIME
THAN THE OTHER PERSON, I’D WIN
THE POINT. MICHELLE: A STATEMENT SERVE
PERFECTING PLACEMENT AND TIMING,
WHILE POSITIONING HIMSELF INTO
FOUR DIFFERENT HALL OF FAMES.>>EVERYBODY CAN FIND A REASON
TO QUIT. YOU JUST GOTTA FIND A BETTER
REASON TO KEEP GOING. MICHELLE: SO ROGER’S BEEN
ADAPTING TO THE SPORT FOR HIS
ENTIRE LIFE, BUT THIS TIME, THE
SPORT ACTUALLY ADAPTED TO HIM.>>WE’RE GONNA MAKE YOU A CUSTOM
RACKET USING 3-D PRINTING, SO
HERE IT IS. I AM JUST SO EXCITED THAT WILSON
WOULD DO THIS FOR ME. THEY MADE THIS PIECE, SO THE
DIMENSIONS EXACTLY THE SAME,
AND IT USED TO BE A PIECE OF
WOOD. MICHELLE: SWINGING AT WHATEVER
LIFE SERVES HIS WAY. GIVING HIS BEST RETURN, WHILE
TAKING IT ONE POINT AT A TIME.>>IF I COULD HAVE NORMAL HANDS,
AND NORMAL LEGS, AND TRADE THE
LIFE I HAVE, I WOULDN’T DO IT. MICHEL

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Dennis Veasley

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