When I look at my usual sports sites (ESPN, Journal Sentinel's sports section), I like to read the big stories, which are usually hard news. I also try to look for human-interest type stories because I think going beyond the facts can make a story easier to relate to for the average fan.

That's why when I looked at the Yahoo! Sports' front page and saw this as one of the headlines, I had to check it out for myself. The cheerleader, Patience Beard, is a freshman at the University of Arkansas, who was diagnosed with Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD) when she was six months old. Beard's leg was amputated three months later and she has lived with a prosthetic leg ever since.

Yahoo! writer Eric Adelson provides numerous supporting anecdotes into the struggles and triumphs Beard had as a child. Beard didn't let her disability affect her; beginning gymnastics at age four and cheerleading in seventh grade. Beard understands the scrutiny she is under from people who see her at games and on TV, but it won't stop her from doing what she loves.

Stories like these make you forget about silly things in sports like the drama at the end of the Tampa Bay/New York game Sunday or the latest BountyGate news. Stories like Patience Beard make you take a step back and think about what's really important in life. I used to think sports were everything and sometimes I still do. But I don't think Patience Beard is cheering for Arkansas because she's a huge Razorback fan. I think she's doing it because she can, her disability be damned.

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    I am a senior journalism major and political science minor in the Diederich College of Communications at Marquette University in Milwaukee. I work as the sports editor for the Marquette Tribune and interned with the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa the past summer.


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