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The Razorback with a Zebra Leg
September 18, 2012 11:34 AM   Subscribe

"The coach [of the University of Arkansas Cheerleaders] would offer "no special consideration" here. Beard would have to do all the stunts, and do them perfectly. There would be no charity for Patience." Patience Beard, an amputee since the age of 9 months, a fresh graduate of a Texarkana high school, refused to be dissuaded. Instead, she went out and did what she did best, and made the team.

Bonus: On the sideline of one of the recent Arkansas football games, a young amputee wanted to meet the one-legged cheerleader he had seen from the stands.
posted by Atreides (22 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
That picture is so freakin' cute :')
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:38 AM on September 18, 2012


I like the chutzpah of the zebra stripes.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well done on everyone involved. Amputee or not, let her try to do the stunts, and let her on the team if it turns out she can. If her disability means she can't, don't make an exception, but if it doesn't interfere? Then don't let it. Good story.
posted by kafziel at 11:46 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ru-dy, ru-dy, ru-dy....
posted by dry white toast at 11:48 AM on September 18, 2012


Oh, that picture...I wish my tears were more inside.
posted by resurrexit at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


For several years I was the motorcycle safety captain of the Avon 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer*. I witnessed incredible feats of dedication and love and hope. We had walkers of all ages and abilities, including a couple of women who were currently being treated for breast cancer.

Hands down the most inspiring thing I saw in those years was the woman with the zebra leg. I never learned her name, but she was an above-the-knee amputee and her prosthetic leg had a zebra-print top. She walked all 60 miles during the worst year of the event (tropical storm + bad planning = really bad day.) I remember seeing her in camp at night. I was walking around listening walkers griping about their sore calves and their blisters. Then I turned a corner and there she was, sitting on the floor with her prosthetic leg off, applying salve to the blisters on her stump. She looked up at me and smiled.

Never underestimate a woman with a zebra leg.
posted by workerant at 11:56 AM on September 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oops - forgot the footnote. The Avon 3-Day series died when their event company went out of business, partly because of the life-threatening clusterfuck of the aforementioned Atlanta walk. The Atlanta crew was so tight that the event continued for several years as an independent 2-day walk, then was picked up by Komen.
posted by workerant at 11:59 AM on September 18, 2012


I'm guessing a one-legged cheerleader would be lighter than one with two biological legs. Wouldn't that make them idea for the throws and jumps and stuff that cheerleaders do?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:05 PM on September 18, 2012


Seriously cool, especially seeing her be an inspiration to others. (Aww, that little kid!)

I'm guessing a one-legged cheerleader would be lighter than one with two biological legs. Wouldn't that make them idea for the throws and jumps and stuff that cheerleaders do?

blue_beetle, the article does mention that bit:

There is a bit of a challenge, however, for Patience's partner, Kevin Ellstrand. He's the one who has to lift her, and he admits it's a little bit tricky holding a girl up with one arm when a disproportionate amount of her weight is on one side.

I suppose for her, it's just how she's always been, and she's used to compensating for it. She's been doing gymnastics since she was four, and seems like she's got an ace sense of balance.
posted by harujion at 12:17 PM on September 18, 2012


Trying hard to find something to be cynical about here, but thus far unsuccessful. What a great story.
posted by The Gooch at 12:27 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Every now and then I see something that makes me very proud of The Land of Opportunity and this is certainly one of those times.
posted by Anitanola at 12:34 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I went to high school with a guy with a prosthetic leg. He was on the football team. And not for charity, either.
posted by BlueJae at 12:52 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trying hard to find something to be cynical about here, but thus far unsuccessful. What a great story. (The Gooch)

If you were really determined to ruin everything good in the world, you could mouse over this link but, really, why would you?
posted by d. z. wang at 12:58 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sometimes a good story makes it through the cynicism; today is one of those times.
posted by arcticseal at 1:50 PM on September 18, 2012


Hurray for Ms. Beard!

It feels a bit recursive to be cheering a cheerleader, actually.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:06 PM on September 18, 2012


Oh, there's plenty of cynicism: it's great for her, but not so great for the greater number of disabled people who aren't as athletically gifted, and are unemployed and living a lonely life since what little services they've had over the years have been cut.
posted by Melismata at 2:37 PM on September 18, 2012


This is the first good news about the Arkansas Razorbacks I've heard in a while.
posted by box at 4:20 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


i can't help but hear this said in the cutest, perkiest, but completely genuine voice of reese witherspoon being all southern.


Patience is considering asking her Dallas hospital for a new prosthetic, in Razorbacks red. "How many people do you know who have an Arkansas leg?" she asks.
posted by sio42 at 4:56 PM on September 18, 2012


I'm dating a woman with a prosthetic leg. On a walk one night (our first real date), we sat on a bench to chat in the moonlight. She took off her leg and propped it beside her against the bench. I started to take off my little wallet-on-a-string type thing and set it next to me, and she said, "Here, let me." She dropped it into the cup at the top of her leg. "That way, you know you won't forget it," she said.

Her newest leg has an adjustable foot, so she can wear high heels as well as flats. I was like, "Barbie foot!" and she was like, "No."
posted by not that girl at 6:38 PM on September 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Patience remembers going to the beach in fifth grade and feeling embarrassed when everyone around her started noticing her leg. "What happened to you?" they asked. Patience told her mom she wanted to wear pants. Her mom told her no.
"That's who you are," she told her daughter. "Don't be ashamed. This is you."


Bad ass parents have bad ass daughter.
posted by orange swan at 6:48 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


>sio42:
i can't help but hear this said in the cutest, perkiest, but completely genuine voice of reese witherspoon being all southern.


Patience is considering asking her Dallas hospital for a new prosthetic, in Razorbacks red. "How many people do you know who have an Arkansas leg?" she asks.
A proud SEC tradition: Owner of prosthetic leg with UK logo elated about find.

For real though, this is a heartwarming story and a double-ultra-extra-heartwarming bonus photo.
posted by King, in the hall of the mountain at 8:43 PM on September 18, 2012


Excellent story. Thanks for pointing this out, Atreides.
posted by chemoboy at 10:09 AM on September 19, 2012


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