A blind guy and a guy with no legs go into a wrestling meet…Have you heard this one before? Well, the punchline is, they both kick your ass.
Lincoln West High School in Cleveland features two wrestlers for whom the “inspirational stories” tag was made. Dartanyon Crockett, who has been legally blind since birth, and Leroy Sutton, who lost both his legs when he was run over by a train at age 11. Sounds like some major disadvantages? Not even close. Combined, the two have a 32-5 record.
Crockett carries Sutton around on his back, so Sutton can be the eyes and Crockett can be the legs. It’s a sort of Thunderdome, Master Blaster arrangement that seems to suit them fine.
“I’m his wheelchair,” said Crockett, who said he can barely see enough shadows so he doesn’t stumble while walking. “He’s also my drill partner and teammate, and I’d carry him to his next match at another school if no bus were available.”
Both have used wrestling as a chance to prove to themselves and others that a disability isn’t always a liability.
“Because people constantly tell me I can’t do things because of my lack of vision, I wanted to prove them wrong when they said I shouldn’t wrestle,” Crockett said. “Besides, in wrestling you don’t need to see to execute a move and you have no teammates to worry about unlike football, where running a wrong route or someone else’s missed block messes up a play.”
Sutton, on the other hand, was urged by a friend to try out wrestling because of his upper body strength. How strong is his upper body? Well, even with no legs, he still tops the scales at 171 lbs.
Sutton is 9-3 overall this season and placed fourth at last week’s Senate tournament. He went 2-2, pinning one of his opponents in a cradle, which is difficult to do when you don’t have a leg to help apply leverage.
“Leroy moves around faster on his arms than most wrestlers do on their feet,” said Terry Atkins, who has officiated several of Sutton’s matches.