Some might see adversity as a barrier or a set of hurdles that make life difficult. For Miles Moscato ’22, adversity is a gift and something he’s been thankful for since he was a child.
Moscato was born with only one arm but this has not slowed him down one bit. He is currently a member of the Poet men’s lacrosse team. When he’s on the field playing with his teammates, he’s focused on the game and giving it his all. But Moscato, a philosophy major, sees lacrosse as more than just a sport.
“Playing lacrosse teaches you a lot about life,” said Moscato. “It’s a sport in which everyone on the team needs to be on board for it to work. If one person isn’t doing their job, everything else falls apart. But that also means that everybody gets an equal amount of responsibility.”
Moscato began playing lacrosse in the third grade. Enjoying the game, he eventually began taking it more seriously and started playing for high-end sports clubs on a competitive level in Portland, Oregon. The more he played, the more he learned to use his disability as an advantage on the field. Upon the advice of family members, he started watching YouTube videos of Canadian lacrosse players—they mostly use one hand when playing. He found inspiration from these players and was able to use their techniques himself.
“The way I hold my stick and throw the ball is a lot different than a lot of other players and it’s a lot more core rotation than arms,” he explains. “What I lack in torque, I make up for in speed and release. Also, other teams really don’t know how to play me and I know exactly where they’re going to come from.”
Head Lacrosse Coach Nicholas Marks, who recruited Moscato to play for Whittier, was impressed with his talents on the field.
“[Moscato] is a truly special player, and it has nothing to do with the challenge he faces everyday while doing it. He has one of the hardest and most accurate shots on the team combined with a very high level of athleticism,” said Marks. “He was able to turn his supposed disadvantage into a literal advantage. In the time it takes two arms to throw or shoot a lacrosse ball it only takes [Moscato] the time of one arm.”
Moscato also draws inspiration from the origins of the game. The original version of lacrosse was played by Native Americans. “Coach Marks talks a lot about the spirituality of lacrosse and we have a lot of respect for the medicine game,” said Moscato.
Marks also encourages his players to be good teammates and stay focused on their academics. “The coaches are very invested in who we are as people and players,” said Moscato. “It’s nice to know they actually care about us and how we end up in life.”
Looking ahead, Moscato is excited to continue playing at Whittier for the next three years and focusing on his academics. His favorite course this past semester was Early Chinese Philosophy taught by Professor of Philosophy Paul Kjellberg. Moscato enjoys the way Kjellberg is able to blend knowledge of the language, history, and the philosophy of the text to find its meaning—something Moscato is also good at.
He’s found meaning in his own challenges and has turned what some might see as a disadvantage into an advantage. “Once you get good at attacking adversity and not letting it hit you, it’s like a ground ball in lacrosse—you have to pop someone in the hip before you get hit so you can get the edge on the ball. You have to learn to tackle it head on and see it as an opportunity to grow and get better,” said Moscato.