I'm putting together a collection of essays on what I call daily heroes.
They're the kind of people who face massive challenges every day bravely and creatively.
These Daily Heroes I'm introducing you to haven't made the news anywhere. There's no viral videos of any of them. They're just average Americans I've had the honor of meeting and knowing.
The next day Josh arrived at the gym before me and was already speeding down the court in his competition wheelchair when I got there at 8 a.m.
I slowly stretched while watching him make 18-foot shots with one arm.
He was poetry in motion, manipulating the ball like a member of the Harlem Globe Trotters. He didn't have a particulary big hand, but it must have been strong as he held the ball like a grapefruit.
By the time I joined him he had a nice bead of sweat despite wearing a head band to absorb it. We greeted one another.
"Good to see you," I said.
"Good to see you too, sir," he replied.
"Let go of the "sir," Josh. Call me Dave. Now that we have that right what's your favorite shot?"
His smile was so big I had to smile back.
"All of them! From all over the court!" he said with conviction.
"Wow! You're absolutly right! Can't have a favorite shot or everyone will know it and guard you better. Let's play HORSE.
That hour of basketball and conversation went by too quickly. Our conversations were short and honest. I asked him if he was a veteran and he said no.
I quickly assured him that I didn't need to know what happened; why he only had one good arm and no legs. The moment passed and he hit a pretty shot from about 15-feet out from the left corner.
I had to to make the shot, or I would have all the letters and be a HORSE. In a semi-serious tone I acted like I was the announcer in a big game, "And the crowd roared as he released the ball with one second to go!"
And he missed it!
Josh hooted happily and held his hand out to receive my high five. I promised I'd get him in the next game.
As the days turned to months Josh and I became good friends. I learned a little more about him every day, and the challenges he faced with such courage.
Thanks for reading this condensed version of Josh's story. The full version will be in a book form of collected essays that I'm working on.