HARMONY, Pa. (KDKA) — Like many kids, Sydney Ring started playing basketball at a young age.
But unlike most, she did so with just one hand. A congenital birth defect left Ring without an appendage below her left wrist.
“This has been her life, this is the only way that she knows,” said Ring’s mother, Cheryl. “When something like that happens, sometimes I think it’s real easy to go to all of the things that your child is not able to do, and it’s more difficult to focus on the things that they are able to accomplish.”
The Ring family focused on the latter, and today Sydney is a sharp-shooting junior at Seneca Valley Senior High School outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sydney credits her “disability” for her fluid shot.
“I think a lot of kids push the ball with two hands. But for me, I had to learn to shoot regularly,” Sydney said. “When I was little, that was the only way I knew how to shoot.”
That shot is opening eyes in the North Hills, both on the court and in the stands.
“When they are playing against other teams, you can hear their parents. They’ll watch up to halftime and all of a sudden, one of them will say, ‘Oh, my gosh, that girl only has one hand,’” Cheryl said. “It’s just interesting that’s not where the focus is. They’re just watching her play ball.”
“She’s absolutely amazing,” said Sydney’s coach Dorothea Epps. “She has never once used her arm as an excuse.”
That attitude has made Sydney a starter on the basketball court and will likely suit her very well for years to come.
“Sports has made me realize that you have to work really hard at everything you do because when you do, you get what you want,” Sydney said.
“It makes my heart proud to see her progress like that,” Cheryl said. “But with the circumstances being the way they are, it makes me very proud as a mom.”