Special - 2011

RICHARD BIRDSALL is quite simply a very special person and athlete.  He lost his right arm in a farming accident when he was just five years old. However, that did nothing to deter his love for sports. Dick went on to play baseball from little league to high school and played in the first East-West game. It was quite amazing to watch him catch the ball in his mitt, then put his mitt on his right (stump) shoulder before throwing the ball left-handed. He also played 2 years on the high school football team, where coach Bill Johnson praised him for his “tremendous amount of spirit and drive.” Never once, did Dick receive any special treatment for his ‘handicap’, nor did he ever ask for any. He was known as a “player’s player” and was greatly respected by all his teammates. Dick graduated from East in 1965. He picked up a new game – Golf - as an adult, and to no one’s surprise, he became pretty good at it. He was accomplished enough to put his performance on the table at many LPGA Corning Classic Pro-Ams gaining the admiration of players such as Pat Bradley, Patty Sheehan and Cindy Rarrick. Dick was also featured in Sports Illustrated magazine’s people page for his hole-in-one while playing in North Carolina. For the record it was a four-iron on the 194-yard fourth hole at Waynesville Country Club, NC in April of 1990.