THE BLOG
01/13/2015 10:49 am ET Updated Mar 15, 2015

Chasing an Impossible Dream

Like every kid, I had a dream growing up. Mine was to be a baseball player.

To many around me, because of my right arm, it was an impossible dream.

Not to me. I don't really remember it even occurring to me that I had a disability. That's because I was blessed with the greatest support group a kid could ever ask for.

It began with parents who never blinked when I said I was not only going to play baseball, but I was going to pitch.

That fortified me when I started going to school and dealing with the usual playground teasing and awkward glances.

That's when my dad stepped in. He was a football and basketball player himself in high school, but not much of a baseball player. But if this was what I wanted to do, we would find a way together.

And we would begin with The Glove.

Kids who start pitching are usually concerned with the ball. The glove is just an accessory.

For me, it was the glove. Throwing with my left hand, I was confident in my stuff. I had pretty good speed, and pretty good control.

But a pitcher has to be able to do more than just pitch. He is the fifth infielder. He has to be able to handle bunts and any other balls that come back to the mound. The pitcher is expected to field the ball with his gloved hand, pluck it out of the glove with his throwing hand and then quickly fling the ball in time to nail a base runner.

That obviously wasn't going to work quite that way for me.

My dad went down to a nearby drugstore and got me this really cheap plastic glove. Then, we went out in the front yard and began developing a unique technique that would work for me.

After delivering the pitch, I learned to transfer the glove to my left hand, field the ball, twirl the glove towards my body while slipping my hand out of it, and anchor the glove on my right arm while pulling the ball out in order to throw out the base runner.

That may sound slow and complicated, but after practicing the routine thousands of times, it became quick and natural.

I spent a lot of time throwing a ball against a brick wall as a kid. It would bounce off quickly and I would have to get the glove on fast enough to field it. I would do it again. And I would do it again. I got good enough to fire the ball as hard as I could against the wall and catch it by the time it bounced back at me.

I even learned how to cradle a bat in my arms so I could hit.

Still, at every level of competition, I had self-doubt, moments of uncertainty, not knowing if I could play. And every time, for every voice (including my own) telling me I could never do it, there was a different voice -- my Dad's, my friends', my own -- telling me I could. I choose to listen those.

The dream of every pitcher is to throw a no-hitter. Could I possibly fulfill that dream as well?

I remember everything about the day it came true, a Saturday in New York City. I remember eating pancakes for breakfast, doing my regular pre-game routine, taking a cab to the stadium and, 27 outs later, my life was changed forever.

It's really hard to describe what the end of a no-hitter is like. When I ran out to the mound at Yankee Stadium for the ninth inning, the adrenaline enveloped me. I could feel it in my legs and my arms. I could see people literally jumping up and down in the stands.

It just overwhelms you. You have to let it go and trust your pitches, knowing that is all you can control, and let's see what happens.

What happened to me, not just that day but throughout my career, was beyond even my wildest dreams.

I hope what people learned from watching me is that just because you do things a little differently doesn't mean you can't do them just as well.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 in conjunction with the What's One Thing campaign. In this series six professional and Special Olympics athletes tell a story about a time in their lives when they were told they couldn't, but didn't listen and chased their dreams anyway. To learn more about the World Games coming to Los Angeles in 2015, visit here. To read all posts in the series, visit here.