Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Taylar Tramil
It can be a struggle living a life in which trouble breathing can get in the way of your activities and hobbies, and a negative attitude can always seem to control you, even when you try to have a positive attitude.
Tara Schumal, now an incoming senior at Minooka Community High School, has been on the journalism team since freshman year, starting as a sports editor, while being under the tutelage of two seniors.
Schumal lives in a house with her two parents, her brother, who is an eighth-grader, and four cats that entertain her. In Minooka, her home is three acres surrounded by woods where there are mice, deer, bats, and others animals as neighbor.
As a person who faces challenges with exercise-induced asthma, she still runs the 1-mile, half-mile, 800- and 400-meter dash for track. And for cross country she runs the three-mile. Her constant challenge is with her condition, in which the more you work out and exercise the harder it is to breathe. Many times she has stressed herself while trying to stay with her team.
During runs and meets, Schumal would faint occasionally, and as a result her parents and the coach would have to watch her cautiously. She has also had to deal with some of her teammates using her condition as an advantage. Shortly, though, she was treated like everybody else and gained support from her parents, her teammates and her coach.
For Schumal, having trouble breathing is a major setback when running; so much so that it’s hard to keep a positive attitude. “When you can’t breathe, you’re negative about everything,” Schumal said, “(My teammates) run alongside of me every day, so they see me when I’m negative and bring me back up.”
Since freshman year she has seen a huge change in her running time from starting out with 20 minutes for a cross-country race to 24 minutes for her sophomore year. Her allergies to an inside mold that is also commonly found outside many times also hinders the way she runs cross country meets outdoors, which is held through trails in the woods.
“You have to be confident that the improvement is coming — you need patience,” said Schumal. Many people have trouble with patience and want everything to come to them easily, but Schumal often has to work harder to get on that same level of achievement as her fellow teammates.
One of Schumal’s teammates from her cross country team once told her, “It’s not here yet but when your moment comes, trust me it will be big,” and this quote has stuck with her and has reminded her that it is possible.