One Columbus State tennis player is preparing for a chance to represent the United States. This competition is just a little different.
Laura Chapman is training every day for the competition of a life time. In fact, she has been working on her tennis game ever since she was six years old.
"And just one day I was like, Mom I just want to learn how to play," said Laura, "And I just picked up a tennis racket and went from there."
Her mom, Julie Chapman, was an accomplished tennis player. She won multiple state championships. And even when she was eight months pregnant with Laura, she was out there playing the game. Tennis became a part of both their lives.
"I remember her playing tennis at 6 and the racket was as big as she was. And she kept playing and loved it," said Julie, "And she kept saying I want to sweat just like you do and she does. It's pretty funny. And now she's like, mom I wish I didn't sweat like you do."
Laura's sweat and determination led her to a successful career on her own. Her play earned her a spot on a prestigious Columbus State tennis team that has been to nationals every year since 2008. But the most recent trip to the national stage is when Laura got the invitation.
Laura said, "There's this opportunity where you can go and you can compete for the United States of America. And all the participants are completely deaf or partially deaf."
She joined the United States tennis team that is heading to the Deaflympics. Laura has been hearing impaired since she was a baby. And she struggled to keep up early on in school. And on one day, her second grade teacher brought the problem to attention.
"So she told my mom and she said I think Laura can't hear the sounds. So my mom took me to the doctor and they were like, she is completely deaf in her right ear and 50% in her left," said Laura.
The doctor's couldn't determine the exact cause. However, her problem could be solved and in 3rd grade she received her first hearing aid.
Her mom said, "I remember her telling me momma I heard the birds chirping outside and it makes you want to break your heart to think that a child has just missed out on so much"
"I could hear cars from far away. I could hear an airplane," said Laura, "Things I could never hear. I was starting to hear and I was like, my eyes were open. It was crazy, but it was awesome."
She could finally hear everything. Her hearing aid allowed her to concentrate both in the classroom and the tennis court. She won 18 matches in both singles and doubles last season for Columbus State.
CSU's Head Tennis Coach Evan Isaacs said, "She is always fighting. She's always got a positive attitude. She's always keeping the girls on track to keep them moving forward, trying to get everyone to improve every day."
Laura's attitude, skill, and training are what guides her on the court and what will take her to Bulgaria for the 2013 Deaflympics, where she will be part of a community. "Just to be around a bunch of people like me," said Laura, "I think it will be a great experience."
Laura and her team are raising money to make the trip to Bulgaria affordable.
Friday, December 6 2013 11:48 PM EST2013-12-07 04:48:51 GMT
The Marion County Eagles made history simply by playing in the state semifinal game, and they made more history by winning it. Marion County avenged a regular season loss in resounding fashion, handling
The Marion County Eagles made history simply by playing in the state semifinal game, and they made more history by winning it.
Friday, December 6 2013 11:40 PM EST2013-12-07 04:40:55 GMT
The Auburn Tigers struggled to find consistency on offense and fell to the Hoover Buccaneers, 20-3, in the AHSAA 6A state championship game. The game was closer than the final score indicated. Hoover led
The Auburn Tigers struggled to find consistency on offense and fell to the Hoover Buccaneers, 20-3, in the AHSAA 6A state championship game.