Asya Miller

Paralympic

Sports as Subculture; Goalball

Asya's main sport is called Goalball. This sport was specifically designed for blind athletes. The players compete in teams of three, where their motive is to score a ball into their opponents goal. The ball contains bells inside so the players can hear it. The ball looks like a kickball and the players bowl/roll the ball towards their opponents net where the the players guard the net, trying to prevent the ball from going in to their goal. It's almost a mixture of bowling and soccer. Asya has also excels at discus, javelin, track and field, and powerlifting.
Goalball at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

Asya's Status

Asya was diagnosed with Stargardt's disease when she was in 11th grade. The diseases is inherited form of juvenile macular degeneration that causes progressive vision loss. In Asya's case the disease has caused her to become blind. Nevertheless, Asya received her master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Colorado located in Colorado Springs. This way she was able to study and train at the Olympic Training Center located in Colorado springs. Asya is married to Jen Armbruster, and together they have a son named Ryder. Asya enjoys cooking and gardening. Asya is a wife, a mother, officer, and a paralympian.
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Values

Like any other competitive athlete, Asya values winning. And even though she values her family even more, Asya values winning because it is important to her and her team that to show the world how hard they have practiced, how skilled they are, and how much they deserve their gold medal. And when they do win they don't stop there, it is still important to Asya that her team continues to defend their title as winners just to show that they're not just lucky, but that they are gold medalists for a reason. (you may start video at 2:54)
MEDAL QUEST | What Makes a Champion? | Hand -- Ear Coordination | PBS

Socialization

Asya is an active member of her community. She volunteers at sports camps for visually impaired children. She also helps build houses for the NEEDY! She never let her blindness cripple her into helping others or doing good. She has always looked for ways to help people especially the ones that she can understand in a way others can't on a deeper level. Asya gives these blind children hope, that they can do anything and that they don't have to let their blindness rule their life, they have to rule their blindness, and never let it stop them from chasing and achieving their dreams.

Social Interaction/Competition

Asya's blindness has never made her any less of an athlete. She never used her blindness as an excuse for losing. Most to all of her opponents are blind as well but she still wanted to win as bad as any other athlete in her position would. Asya also didn't let her blindness effect her competitiveness. She never had to worry that being blind would be a disadvantage in her sport. She also met her future wife Jen who is also blind and enjoys goalball. Asya didn't just decide to play goalball because she wanted to represent the U.S. in the Paralympics but, because it was a sport available for her to try that she had interest in. In the video Asya says she's ready to win and she plans on winning, and she does.

(you can start video at 0:30)

Goalball - Preface to Beijing

Symbolic Theory

The paralympics and sports like goalball mean a lot to athletes like Asya. She has always been honored to compete in the Paralympics and she doesn't take being a participant for granted. Through this sport, and her disability Asya has been able to find love and start a family, and the life she was unsure she was ever able to have. Being a paralympian has shown Asya how much she has accomplished and how hard she has worked. The Paralympics has let Asya show the world what she is capable of and it has also shown others that she didn't let her blindness hold her back from being great and they don't have to let their disability from holding them back either, this is an important message that Asya is able to send to her fans. It means a lot to Asya that she gets to inspire others from all around the world.

Reflection

Asya has been the most inspiring athlete I have ever heard of. Not only did she work hard enough to compete in the Paralympics, but she won despite being blind. From what I have read about her story, her blindness never seemed to slow her down or stop her from doing whatever she wanted. She was about my age when she became blind and she could have just given up hope about what her life could be but, she didn't. She still went on to college to study criminal justice just like she had always planned. And she pushed herself to work even harder to participate in the Paralympics. She even helps the needy and blind children. Asya is a living embodiment of hope, perseverance, and strength and I will never forget about how she never gave up or let her disability define who she was and is as a person.

Beijing 2008

Asya and her goalball team won 1st place in Beijing and in 2011 the team maintained their gold medal status in the Parapan American American games where Asya had the honor of being the United States team's flag bearer.