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CNN Today

Playing Ball: Despite 'Inconvenience' Samantha Eyman Swings for the Fences

Aired May 29, 2000 - 1:28 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: There are a lot of other stories to tell, and we have one that concerns a very unique woman. It is a given that you have got to have two good hands to play sports, like my favorite golf or baseball or football, or any of those; right?

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Apparently not so. Take the case of softball player Samantha Eyman.

Marcelo Ramon (ph) of CNN station WGN in Chicago has her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARCELO RAMON, WGN REPORTER (voice-over): If you're not watching closely, you will miss it.

SAMANTHA EYMAN: People don't even realize in softball games that, like, I do have one hand until like the sixth inning. They will be, like, wait a minute, you know, so it is kind of like they don't realize it.

RAMON: They don't realize because the one-handed varsity catcher from Stack (ph) High School is as good as any other in the conference.

BOB DILLON, SAMANTHA'S COACH: She's got a huge, strong arm, and sometimes when people look at her they say: Well, you know, maybe we could steal on her, maybe we could take the extra base or whatever, and they find out pretty quickly that that's not the case.

RAMON: Sam was born without her left hand, but for her, it's never been a handicap. She likes to call it an inconvenience. When she is not playing softball, Sam is helping other kids who have with similar inconveniences.

S. EYMAN: I know of, like, a lot of people that when their kid is born with something different, that like they don't know what to do, and I want be there to help people know.

JOHN EYMAN, SAMANTHA'S FATHER: There was a girl here this morning that had a hand similar to Sam's, and she basically went through how she did the mitt change, and how she bats. And the mother said: Sam, please, can I keep your phone number and call you anytime. Sam said: Sure. RAMON: Sam has never been one to feel sorry for herself, and always the first to take on a new challenge. She has been playing softball since she was five, and practiced being a catcher since she was a freshman outfielder. She was board with the outfield, and catcher is the second hardest position on the team.

Sam is concentrating on softball now, but she has played volleyball, basketball, and run track, but never soccer.

S. EYMAN: People are like, why don't you play soccer, it is just like, I never found it interesting, you know, because soccer doesn't, you know -- you don't need hands to play soccer or anything. I don't know, guess I did go for the challenge.

RAMON: Not only is Sam a competitor, but those who play with her say she is a delight, a motivator, and she gives them inspiration. Sam can't really see all the fuss, though, being one-handed isn't a big deal to her. In fact, she says, if someone offered her another hand she wouldn't take it, she wouldn't know what to do with it.

But her parents know how far she has come.

PAT EYMAN, SAMANTHA'S MOTHER: Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would accomplish what she has. For a parent, it is just amazing.

RAMON: Right now, Sam Eyman has her sights set on college ball; that and helping others overcome their inconveniences.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: How about that, nice story.

WATERS: Liked that story very much.

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