Henry Munroe

Recently, I came across a mention of Henry Munroe. Like Dick Cooley, he was a squash champion who had to switch hands.

When Munroe was about nineteen, he contracted infantile paralysis and could no longer use his right arm. He switched to his left arm and became a great squash player. In 1927 he won the Racquet & Tennis Club’s squash championship (and the club’s summer class A draw).

That was a pretty good result. The winners of the R&T’s club championship in the years immediately before and after his 1927 victory were Palmer Dixon and Herbert Rawlins, both two-time national singles champions.

Monroe’s story reminded me that one-armed athletes have always been a part of sporting history. Current stars like CrossFit stud Luke Ericson and surfer Bethany Hamilton or pitcher Jim Abbott in the 1990s—watch his no-hitter from 1993 and get some goosebumps—are a part of a long, long lineage of men and women who refused to let an injury or handicap keep them from playing their sport.