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A Heart (or liver) of Gold

Posted Jul 29 2009 12:00am

I’m extremely slow. I get tired instantly. I’m barely five foot five. And I’m Jewish. Clearly, I am not your prototypical Olympic athlete. Yet, next year I will try to put on a Michael Phelps-like performance and walk away with a gold medal. You might be asking yourself, how can I do this? The answer is simple: The US Transplant Games.

Every two years, the US Transplant Games take place in an effort to build awareness for transplant causes. But since ESPN hasn’t begun televising the event yet, I don’t know if that’s necessarily working. Instead, the event has primarily become a venue to meet other transplant recipients, thank donors and their families, and enjoy a nice weekend. I will be going with the sole purpose of kicking ass.

To begin, the transplant games are completely tailored to my athletic abilities. Since none of the participants can play contact sports because of our scars, the events range from swimming and basketball to ping-pong and bowling. Although I’d prefer competitive video game playing or thumb wars, I think a year of going to the bowling alley should really put me in a good position. If not, I feel like they give everyone a medal just for trying, like they do for little kids.

I’m also pretty confident that I’m going to come away with a medal. After all, I’m competing against transplant recipients, how hard can it be! First off, heart transplant patients probably get tired after three frames of bowling. Same thing goes for lung patients, who run out of breath after a few minutes playing basketball. My biggest concern is the kidney patients. There aren’t really any residual complications for kidney patients that I can take advantage of. I’m hoping since I’ll be in the 18 to 29 age group, there won’t be that many transplant patients to begin with and I’ll have a clear advantage. Of course, since this event isn’t televised, you’ll never actually know so either way, I’m gonna tell you I won the gold.

And so my training begins. To participate, you have to have your transplant for six months, so that’s my biggest concern right now, just getting my upgrade. Still, most Olympic athletes train their whole lives for that one opportunity, but all I have to do is lie on an operating table. Take that, Natasha Luikin.

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