Asya Miller

John Breen

Status

Asya has excelled at goalball, powerlifting, track and field, and karate, as a legally blind athlete due to Stargardt’s Disease, a genetic condition that causes macular degeneration and progressive vision loss. At Western Michigan University, where she majored in criminal justice, Asya competed in Division 1 track and field. In the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Asya won a bronze medal in discus, and in 2001 she was named Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee.

Values

When Asya is off the field, she is an active community member, volunteering at sports camps for visually impaired children and helping to build housing for the needy. She married Jen Armbruster (Team USA) on July 7, 2007. Together they have a son, Ryder, and a daughter, Kelsey. Asya earned a Master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Colorado in 2008. Her hobbies include cooking and gardening.

Sports as a Subculture

Asya participates in a unique sport called Goalball in the Paralympics. Goalball is a unique sport exclusively for athletes who have a visual impairment. The object is to roll the ball into the opponent's goal while the opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies. Bells inside the ball help to warn the players of the direction of the oncoming ball. While play is in progress, complete silence is required in the venue to allow the players to concentrate and react instantly to the ball.

Socialization

Asya Miller grew up playing flag football, soccer, volleyball, and softball. She’s also a green belt in Shotokan karate. Before discovering goalball, Miller’s signature sport was track and field, at both Lapeer East High School and Western Michigan University, experiences that shaped her athletic destiny.

Athens and Beijing

Asya joined the US women’s Paralympic goalball team a year before graduating from college. In 2004 she helped the team win a silver medal at the Athens Games. In 2008 they won gold in Beijing.

Social Interaction/ Competition

Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents' goal. Teams alternate throwing or rolling the ball from one end of the playing area to the other, and players remain in the area of their own goal in both defence and attack. Players must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. Games consist of two 12-minute halves. Eyeshades allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with blind players.

Symbolic Theory

Symbolism for this specific sport would be the blinding eyeshades that the athletes wear. Another would be the special bell balls that are used throughout the sport. The three players on each side of the court are another symbol for this sport.

Reflection

What I learned from Asya Miller is to never give up. She did not let her disability stop her from doing what she loves and enjoy ever aspect of life. She is an inspiration to others who have disabilities as well and encourages them to not let it drag you down. She is a hard worker and she deserves every bit of success that comes her way. She is a perfect example that anybody can do what they love if they just put their mind to it and put in the effort.