When I was a kid, there was a commercial running on TV that involved Wayne Gretzky and a 13-year-old girl named Amanda, who loves to play hockey. She has a condition that prevents her from being able to use them, but that hasn’t stopped her from doing what she loves. Perhaps you remember the commercial:
I actually learned a little more about Amanda in this article about her work as a painter from ten years ago. By doing the math, I figured out that commercial is from about 15 years ago, which means Amanda and I are pretty much the same age. At that time in my life, I didn’t really know anybody who had lost any limbs, didn’t have use of their limbs, or were born without them. To see her holding that pencil in her mouth and totally out-stickhandling Gretzky like that was fascinating. It opened my eyes to the ways that people in those situations would have to adapt to complete even the simplest tasks – things we take for granted.
Even something as simple (for most of us) as pumping gas becomes a colossal hassle for someone without arms:
Sure, it takes a little ingenuity and a lot of perseverance, but do anything enough times and you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
The same can be said for playing guitar with your feet like this young man:
From the looks of it, I’d say this kid is a better guitar player than I was at that age – and I was using my hands.
In doing a little research for this blog post, though, I did come across other guitarists who play with their feet. Mark “Big Toe” Goffeney is a fairly well known musician who plays guitar and bass with his feet, having been born without arms. He talks a little bit about how he picked it up here:
It’s also pretty interesting seeing how he drives around too.
Here’s a video of him covering Tom Petty:
I also came across another guitarist who plays using his feet – and he’s actually better than I think I’ll ever be at guitar. His name is Jonatha Bastos, and here he is playing with Andy Timmons:
I got chills watching that. He can seriously shred on that guitar.
So next time you’re having difficulty achieving something you really want, remember these folks. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough.