PORTLAND -- In a perfect world, they wouldn’t change a thing.
To a group of seven amputee basketball players, their world is just about as perfect as can be.
“We might do things a little differently, and might be a little slower, but we persevere regardless. We just do it a little differently”, said Brian Vincent, who grew up in Keizer, Ore. but now resides in Texas. “To me, it’s my outlet. It’s not just basketball, it’s my therapy, it’s everything.”
The AMP 1 basketball team tours throughout the country spreading their message of both motivation and inspiration. This week they are paying a visit to Oregon.
“It’s actually been a life changing experience for me," said Robert Anthony Rodriguez who is from Long Island, New York.
He had his leg amputated as a young child, stemming from a congenital birth defect.
“Ultimately our goal is to spread the message to never give up. We do a lot of presentations to kids and adults, really anyone who will give us an ear”.
It’s hard not to have an ear with this cast of characters. They come across as if they’ve known each other for 20 years, when in reality, it’s only been since 2009 when this team was assembled.
“We all offend each other. We get personal. We get brutal. But you gotta kinda shrug it off. We’re all amputees. We have a lot of dents in our armor," said Rodriguez.
While some were born without partial limbs, fingers or toes, others came from tragic accidents.
“I was in a car accident. I’m what you’d call a trauma victim," said Steven Mosqueda who lives in Riverside, Calif. “I’m at a point in my life where I can’t focus on the tragedy of it no more. I’m focusing on the triumph. I’ve seen people do some amazing things. Paraolympics, Olympics.”
All of their efforts are pretty incredible. What stands out most is their vibrant attitude towards life. When they had every reason to quit, they stared it down and fought back. And their doing it with the sport they love.
Vincent may have summed it up best.
“I like to say everybody in life has a disability. It’s how you handle it that’s important towards moving on," he said.
The AMP 1 basketball team will be in Salem this weekend for the Oregon National Guard Hoopla. This event is Oregon’s biggest 3-on-3 basketball event. AMP 1 will have 2 teams playing against ‘able bodied’ players. And don’t underestimate them. They are actually quite talented.