Jump to content

Sunday Note


Recommended Posts

Looked for a few things on the net and various ESPN chats, just wasn't much there. However, this gem linked by Olney is filled with all sorts of awesomeness:


Boy tosses aside early limitations

Akron teen defies odds to become outstanding pitcher, first baseman

By David Lee Morgan Jr.

Beacon Journal sports writer

Published on Sunday, Jun 14, 2009


When you're sitting on the bench next to 13-year-old Greg Rybka, it is possible to see in his eyes, as he talks about baseball, just how much he loves the game.


As he chews on his mouthpiece and gazes through the fence out to the field, you can sense the determination and dedication he puts into the game.


Greg plays for the Indians, the F League (13-to-14 age group), of the West Akron Baseball League, known as WABL.


He's an outstanding first baseman and one of the team's top pitchers.


He also was born without the lower part of his legs and with only one fully functioning arm.


When Greg was 2, his parents, Kelly and Bob, had him fitted with prosthetic legs and he has been running wild ever since.


''It was good we decided early [on the prosthetics], because otherwise I would have grown up and would have been self-conscious about it,'' Greg said. ''Since I was at an age where I can't remember much when I got them, I think that helped, because this is all I've ever known, so I just go out and try to do my best.''


The Rybkas' other six children, including 4-year-old John Paul and 8-year-old Peter, who love to go to the ballpark more for the enjoyment of burying themselves in mounds of dirt, are proud of Greg's accomplishments on

the baseball field.


Kelly Rybka said Greg is a role model to everyone in his family.


''I think God gave him a natural ability to go out and just do things for himself,'' Kelly said. ''We didn't teach him to tie his shoes. He figured it out himself.


''All the things that most of us never think about, like pulling up your pants, he had to learn to do that on his own when he was young. He would never let anything stop him.''


So, as I watched Greg drill a ball up the middle for an RBI single (he was 2-for-3 and his team won 16-7 that night), and as I watched him field a ground ball, and as I watched him run the bases and field balls at first, all I could think about was how normal he was.


He was playing baseball, the Great American Pastime, and enjoying every inning, like a lot of kids across the country do, because that's all Greg wants to be, like most normal kids across the country.


''Playing sports boosted my self-confidence,'' said Greg, who also played basketball at St. Mary Grade School. He'll attend St. Vincent-St. Mary this fall and said he'll stop playing basketball so he can continue his dream of playing high school baseball.


''I just like being out here and helping my team win. That's what I love the most,'' he said.


I'm sure every opposing coach would have made Greg one of his top draft picks because the young man can play the game. More important, he has a positive attitude toward life that is contagious.


And today will be a special day for Greg.


The West Akron Baseball League is having its annual recognition day this afternoon at Canal Park before the Aeros' game against the Portland SeaDogs.


WABL players and their parents, family and friends will be special guests at the stadium.


And guess whose 14th birthday is today?


And guess who's throwing out the first pitch?


You guessed right — Greg Rybka, and on this day, there's no one more deserving.





Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...