Carry On

Based on the true story which appeared and became the most watched segment on

During her career as an ESPN television features producer, Lisa Fenn traveled the country, chronicling human-interest stories against the backdrop of sports for more than a decade. One day she walked into the gym at Cleveland's Lincoln-West High School in 2009 and found on the wrestling mats she witnessed something that caused my spirit to sink and soar, all in the same moment.

What She witnessed that day was Dartanyon Crockett; Lincoln's best and strongest talent. At 5-foot-7 with muscles bunched like walnuts, Dartanyon was a winner in multiple weight classes. He was also homeless, subsisting on the soggy mozzarella sticks and badly bruised apples served in cafeteria lunches, but what Lisa could not possibly see, is that Dartanyon is legally blind. Yet, perched atop Dartanyon's back -- yes, riding on his back -- was his teammate and best friend Leroy Sutton. He traveled around up there because he has no legs, and the gym had no elevator. And because when he was 11 years young, he was hit by a train. The "why" questions haunted Leroy, but he learned to mask their torment with a quick smile.

The one with no legs, being carried by the one who could not see. Disabled. Impoverished. Black. Determined. Charismatic. She knew these two friends would make a fascinating story. What she didn’t know, was that they would become my sons.

This story is more than two underdogs exceeding expectations. It is a tender tale of an unlikely family forged through barriers of race, class and disability. It is a memoir of love and trust rising up out of East Cleveland quarters. It is a story that will inspire hope in those up against all odds and will motivate others to become agents of change.


Nate Parker