This time of year where the trick or treat candy tends to blend in with the candy corn of Thanksgiving, it takes everything I have to make it past the bowls stacked high on every desk. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don’t for which I get to pay the price as a Type 2 diabetic.
With proper diet and exercise, old fat bald guys like me can manage ... if they can make it past the candy bowl at the office and the cake at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
At one point, a Type 1 diabetic person excelling in sports would have been unthinkable. Now, however, diabetes is a small side note in the story of many excellent athletes and I tip my hat to those that have gone on to great things, despite managing blood sugar levels that have a direct impact on strength, speed, stamina, flexibility and healing capabilities.
Around these parts, Gonzaga great Adam Morrison was one of the best players in the nation during his college career, including leading the NCAA in scoring and being named the Co-Player of the Year (shared with Duke’s JJ Redick). Morrison’s basketball career also included a stint in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jay Cutler is probably the most notable and best Type 1 diabetic athlete. Cutler resurrected his NFL career this season in Miami. Despite inconsistent play and mood swings in Chicago, which can be attributed to the diabetes, he played eight seasons with the Bears. In Denver, he was selected to play in the 2008 Pro Bowl, and led the AFC in passing yards that season, his first after diagnosis.
The list of great athletes dealing with Type 1 Diabetes is significant and we can add two-time 2A medalist Kenedee Peters, the Ephrata star who’s headed to Washington State on a golf scholarship, to the list.
The Ephrata senior constantly monitors her sugar levels before, during and after a round. But it hasn’t kept her from doing great things, which includes playing in the IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships.
“I get her (blood sugar level) number before she even leaves (tee off), then I check it at the turn,” Ephrata golf coach Heidi Burns said. “Her main concern is when the level drops.”
Peters wears an insulin pump that gives a continuous flow to sustain and maintain glucose levels as her round unfolds. She has the ability to give it a bump if she feels the effects during her round.
“Her level always starts high because of her adrenaline,” Burns said. “But it settles as the day goes on with the exercise. We’re grateful for her step dad (Bob Duda), because he always follows her and gives her Gatorade if she needs to level things off."
During last year’s high school and junior golf season, Peters established course records at three different golf courses: April 20, Gamble Sands Golf Course, 66 (-6); May 15, Lakeview Golf & CC, 69 (-2); June 29, Desert Aire GC, 70 (-2).
She won her second 2A state medalist honor during the high school season and finished 20th in the 56-golfer field at the U.S. Women's Open Sectional Qualifier last summer.
Peters has one more prep season before running off to play Pac-12 golf at Wazzu. As she goes low with her golf score, she is in constant awareness that her glucose level doesn’t go with it.
The sky is the limit for this Columbia Basin star and with the wonders of modern science, she’s able to chase the dream just as long and as far as it will take her.
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org