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Asthma and Athletics

Asthma and Athletics
Writer, 16

I was born with a serious form of bronchial asthma. As I grew up I was told that I could never play sports, that I would never be normal, and that I would never be cool or hip or whatever. This story is dedicated to all the people out there who have any form of asthma.

I didn't really develop my love of sports until I was nine or ten. You may ask how I came to love it. My Dad played baseball and soccer when he was in high school, and he played on an adult baseball team. My mom played volleyball from seventh grade all the way on up through high school and college. They never pressured me to play sports because of my asthma, but in elementary school, the first time I shot and made a basket, I felt awesome. I thought that even my asthma couldn't hold me back. By then, my asthma had advanced and gotten worse. I didn't care what anyone said. I was going to prove to them that I COULD and I WOULD play basketball like a normal girl.

Or would I? When I was thirteen, I first talked to my parents about my love of sports and how asthma interfered with playing. Both of my parents wondered why I wanted to play sports all of a sudden. They knew I had loved basketball since third grade. My dad was pretty surprised. He wasn't very supportive of the idea of his little angel having an asthma attack in the middle of a soccer or basketball game. I wondered why God chose ME to have asthma. Maybe everyone was right. Maybe I was abnormal.

Then, before I hit fourteen, my mom signed me up to play basketball through a girls basketball association. At my first practice, I met lots of great girls and was surprised that three others had asthma, though not as serious as mine. I discovered that having asthma wasn't as bad as I thought. First game, I got winded and played as hard as I could. It's not that I'm out of shape, because I'm definitely not, but my muscles started burning, my head starting spinning, and I blacked out in the middle of the game. It was so embarrassing. Turns out that everyone was really concerned. I thought I would never play in another game.

That night, after a long thinking spell and a long lecture from my mother, I felt totally depressed and cried on my bed for four hours straight, wondering why I couldn't be normal. My mother had given me a speech about making the right choice when it came to sports. She thought I would never play again, while my dad told me to keep trying because he knew I could do it. I made myself go to practice the next day, knowing that shooting would help me relieve my tension. I sharpened my touch, ran laps around the gym, and did push-ups everyday for the next several weeks at practice, each day getting a few more laps, push-ups, or shots in than the day before prior to getting winded. I loved sports, and I wasn't going to let a stupid birth defect stop me from the only thing I really loved doing.

Today, at sixteen, I'm the star center of my high school basketball team, and I'm looking at about fifteen scholarships for both academic and athletic abilities to colleges around the United States. One is even in Germany. And basketball is not the only sport I play or have ever played. I play soccer, volleyball, and I am also on the track team. I no longer have severe bronchial asthma due to my determinedness about playing and the way the athletic activities exercised my lungs. So, if you have asthma, don't live in peril all your life. Push hard. Don't let a birth defect or a disease stop you. You've got to exercise those lungs. If you do, the asthma will gradually begin to disappear. Life is definitely a big challenge, and if you don't cherish every hard-earned moment, then it passes you by.

Last Modified Date: 2/8/2001
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