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Extra Obstacles This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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It was a beautiful sunny day – one of those that make you want to be outside all day. I was only three. Mom was mowing the lawn on our red ride-on mower. Excited to see her outside, I began to run toward her. As I was running, I must have slid going down the hill. What happened in that moment changed everything.

Mom could not hear me screaming over the mower. She has said that an angel must have been watching, because as I slid under the mower, a stick got jammed in the front, so she stood up to get it out. When my mother stood up, the mower's security feature turned it off. Then she heard my screams.

I was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Detroit. The doctors were able to reattach my left heel. As for my right leg, I was not so lucky, so I became a below-the-knee amputee. This, of course, affects me every day. I try to believe I am just like everyone else with just a few extra obstacles. Over the years I have had five operations. Without them, I would be unable to walk.

Due to the surgeries, I had to stop playing soccer. As a very committed player, that drove me insane. My mom had heard that several of my friends were going to play tennis, so she spoke with the coach. During my freshman year I played doubles tennis on crutches, just hopping around the court, with my good friend Mary doing most of the running.

Finally I was able to stop using crutches and walk. When soccer season started, I made the junior varsity team. The next year tennis conflicted with soccer, so I had to choose. I picked soccer because I had played since I was seven, and it was my whole life. I expected to make the high school team, but it was not that easy, because we had a new coach.

When I was cut from the soccer team, I was devastated. Then, all of a sudden, I stopped crying and told my mom to call the tennis coach and ask if it was too late for me to play. Now when I look back on that day, though it was a horrible moment in my life, I am incredibly happy it happened. The next day I was playing tennis again, except this time I was the number-one singles player on the team. I loved every minute of it.

My junior year I tried out for varsity tennis and made it. The coach has always been extremely supportive and always believed in me. I had a wonderful season with a 14-8 record. I was even ranked fourth at our district tournament and at regionals. This year, as a senior, I will play varsity tennis again.

Tennis has changed my life. It has made me a more confident person. And even though I do have a disability, I have never thought of my amputation in that way. It is just an obstacle in my life that has made me stronger and better. People underestimate me when they see my leg, but when they see what I can actually do, they are blown away.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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FreedomIsMyVirtue said...
Aug. 6, 2011 at 4:17 am:
This is an inspiring piece.... I hope I am strong too...
 
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livinglaughingloving said...
Sept. 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm:
such a touching story, very well written
 
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