CONVERSE, La (KMSS/KTAL) – “If he can do it then why can’t I?”
It’s a question Converse Senior Guard Alex Rivers makes those who watch the Wildcats ask themselves. The multi-sport athlete at the small Northwest Louisiana school was born without a left arm.
“It was congenital limb deficiency,” Rivers said. “I was born without it. People ask me if it’s hard but you can’t really miss something you’ve never had, you know?
Instead of looking at his disability as a negative, he uses it to his advantage on the basketball court.
“The whole force him left thing that doesn’t really work because you can’t force me left. Sometimes your left hand can actually get in the way when you’re shooting and I think it’s more of a benefit that I don’t have that there because there’s no chance it gets in my way.”
Rivers believes his defense is his biggest strength on the floor.
“I can’t really think of anyone that can score on me every single time down the court. That’s not me being big-headed. That’s a big confidence of mine, because you have to be really good on your feet if you don’t have a hand.”
Rivers is more than his disability. And according to his Head Coach Robert Carrier, he’s more than just another high school basketball player.
“People are truly drawn to Alex,” Carrier said. “He is my captain. I have three seniors and he’s my captain. It’s not just some charity case that he’s my captain, people listen to him. he’s smart, he’s intelligent, he’s an articulate individual.”
If there are any doubters, Rivers lets his play do the talking.
“Alex grabbed the ball, went baseline and did an up and under and the very next possession he blocked and stole his shot within the first minute of a game,” Carrier recalls from a matchup earlier this season. “I look up in the stands and see people talking and they’re like, ‘Oh, this kid can play!'”
“You go out there and you show them you can do the same things they do and sometimes you can do it even better than them,” Rivers said.
He hopes his play on the court can inspire those both on and off it.
“’He’s doing it why can’t I’?” is what Rivers hopes to make people ask themselves. “I want to be that person to be someone else’s motivation.”
“If he can do it, I can. What’s holding me back?”
Carrier hopes the players he coaches ask themselves that question. “What’s holding me back from achieving my dreams?”
Converse’s Alex Rivers, serving as motivation for his coach, his teammates, and everyone in between.