Junior High athlete excels despite physical obstacles
By Joseph Garcia
It is rare to find a young athlete as driven as Liberty Hill Junior High student Bass Hamilton.
Carl William Bass Hamilton, 13, just completed his final basketball season at LHJH helping the 8th grade Purple team to a 10-3 record.
Hamilton, who turns 14 on Feb. 13, competes with the best the district has to offer at the junior high level like everyone else with one exception. He was born with only a thumb on his left hand.
“My umbilical cord was wrapped around my hand and just let my thumb grow,” Hamilton explained. “I have no feeling in it whatsoever so it’s kind of hard if I get the basketball in just that hand.”
But playing with one fully functional hand doesn’t stop him from excelling on the basketball court or football field. You can find Hamilton passing assist after assist to teammates, propelling the offense with his intelligent play.
He doesn’t score a whole lot, but he is fine with that.
“I only have 30-40 points this season because I only take shots I know I can make,” Hamilton said. “I try to get assists. That’s what I do.”
Before basketball season started, Hamilton played football, his favorite sport, for the 8th grade Purple team. He played strong safety on defense and running back on offense.
He also used to play baseball and faired quite well before moving on to football and basketball.
“I played baseball for about six years at first base,” he said. “My team won the championship in 2009, which was my last year playing baseball.”
Hamilton says he plans to continue his athletic career at the next level when he is a freshman next year at Liberty Hill High School.
“I plan to go out for basketball, football and track,” he said. “I am not running track this year because I am trying to get stronger for football next year.”
While his favorite athletes include Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice because of the confidence they exuded on the field, Hamilton lists a couple of lesser-known sports idols he looks up to.
He said South African track star Oscar Pistorius is one of the athletes he looks up to the most.
“He’s one of the people I look up to because God made you the way you are and you just have to show what you got the way you are made,” Hamilton said.
Pistorius was born without fibulas and was 11 months old when his legs were amputated below the knee.
He has set world records in the 100, 200 and 400 in Paralympic events. He came up just short of making the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, but has inspired athletes in similar situations such as Hamilton to pursue his athletic dreams.
Aside from Pistorius, Hamilton said he looks up to his older brother James.
James Hamilton, 16, is deaf. He attends school, plays football and wrestles for the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin.
“I kind of take after him because God made you the way you are and you have to live with it,” Hamilton said.
The rest of Hamilton’s family includes his mother Rachel, father Jonathan and Brian who is 11 years old. Hamilton’s favorite subjects in school are math and science because he said they both involve each other and are easy to study.
“I want to go to UT or Baylor,” Hamilton said of his future college choices. “For the subjects I am interested in (math and science) Baylor is probably a better choice for me.”
Although he’s got a wonderful support system, the reality of being in eighth grade and the lumps one takes is no different from any other junior high. There will always be ignorant, silly and downright mean kids.
But it takes more than a few dumb kids to rattle this headstrong young man.
“For the past few years in school I’ve had people on both my good and bad side,” he explained. “I’ve had people make fun of me and others stand up for me. But I stand up for myself, too, because you can’t let people bring you down from what you do best.”
Some of those things he does best is outplaying and outhustling opponents on the court or field with a fervor no other player seemingly possesses. That is why he plays on the A team. That is why he is a standout athlete that most everyone can look up to.