Barry the Hammer

Cathy Salustri


Barry the Hammer

When Barry Craig was 18, he had a motorcycle accident. After five years of complications with his left arm, which had minimal function after the accident, he had the arm amputated.

41 years later, it hasn’t slowed him down.

Shortly after the amputation, he took up skiing.

His father, he recalls, was skeptical.

“My dad never swore, but he asked me, ‘Who is going to wipe your ass when you fall down?’,” Craig remembers. “So I practiced not falling down.”

He ultimately gave up skiing, but he’s replaced the pasttime with frisbee golf (“frolf”) and pickleball. His teammates call him “Barry the Hammer” and they meet twice weekly at the St. Pete Beach Community Center. Sundays they meet at the St. Petersburg Tennis Club.

“Most people forget that I have one arm after they know me for a while,” he says. “It hasn’t slowed me down.”

Anyone can meet and play Pickleball at the St. Pete Beach Community Center. Barry is one of many players who enjoy the sport, a sort of mini-tennis played with paddles and whiffle balls. The Community Center has a few paddles players can use; the first day costs nothing and each day thereafter costs two dollars. The pickleball group meets Mondays from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. and from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.