NATION

Tamika Overcomes Odds To Become A Hoop Legend

Tamika Catchings was a four-time All-American Basketball Player who played for Tennessee. A six-time Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) All-Star and five-time Defensive Player of the Year for the Indiana
02 Apr 2017 11:02
Tamika Overcomes Odds To Become A Hoop Legend
Tamika Catchings

Tamika Catchings was a four-time All-American Basketball Player who played for Tennessee. A six-time Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) All-Star and five-time Defensive Player of the Year for the Indiana Fever, Catchings is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

This is quite an achievement for one individual to accomplish and in addition to this Tamika had to cope with many struggles in life, the main one being the fact that she had very serious hearing and speech impediments as a child..

Basketball Legend Tamika Catchings was born with a hearing impairment that affects both ears and as a young child she was teased for the way she looked with large ungainly hearing aids and speech problems that accompanied the hearing impairment.

In the classroom she was ridiculed for the way she looked and also her lanky frame, in desperation Tamika looked to sports to see if she could fit in with the normal kids as she put it. It was on the basketball court she finally found something she could maybe be good at.

Simply put with an obsession to prove she was worthy Tamika trained harder and worked endlessly to improve her game and after hours of continuous effort on the court the hard work started to pay off and finally she had found her passion.

This new found confidence encouraged her to discard her hearing aids and make a conscious effort to improve in her overall life. To compensate for not having full hearing she would sit in the front row in each of her classes and she would study ahead of time to make sure she was well versed with the subject coming up in the classroom.

After class was over she would spend more time discussing her work with the teachers to make sure she had kept up with all that was going on in the class and complete all her homework on time and in an orderly manner.

In regards to Tamika’s basketball career, well that just shot through the roof as she improved in leaps and bounds. Her coaches encouraged her to once again wear her hearing aids and attend speech therapy classes as technology was getting better.

Eventually she was able to find a pair of hearing aids she could wear during practice and her games. The plus point for basketball is the fact that a lot the time the instructions are almost in sign language and because of Tamika’s extra keen senses she is able to capitalize on this and make her moves on the court at the right times.

Off the court nowadays Tamika proudly wears her hearing aids to all functions she has to attend. With age comes confidence and an understanding that being different is not a bad thing.

It takes a lot of guts and determination to defy the odds and reach the top of any professional sport, but to succeed and represent your country winning three consecutive Olympic Gold medals is an incredible achievement.

Tamika Catchings has certainly achieved all her dreams in life and overcome very difficult obstacles along the way. From being a very shy and bullied introvert at school where she would have been the most likely to fail in her academic and sporting life to the pride and joy of all her peers.

This inspiring and heartfelt true life story just goes to show the when the human spirit is alive and challenged through adversity, it can rise and become a very powerful instrument that can propel ordinary people to do extra ordinary achievements.

Tamika Catchings a true life hero on and off the Basketball Court..

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist.

Feedback:  ajay@carvingdream.com

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