Editor's note: Columbus State University tennis player Laura Chapman, a 2010 Hardaway High School graduate, is on Team USA in the 2013 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is deaf in her right ear and has 50 percent hearing in her left ear, which is increased to 85 percent with a hearing aid. This is the first of her periodic reports from her trip.
SOFIA, Bulgaria --
First day in the beautiful Bulgarian weather! No Georgia humidity but first time on the red clay!! I think I got my shoes just a little bit dirty. ;)
Today was the second day of practice for me and my team! Tomorrow is the big day for the Games to start!! I'm so excited.
We decided to visit the market in between practices. Got myself some awesome peaches and bananas for energy on the court! This whole event has been such an amazing experience. I practiced today with two women from Italy and one girl from Greece! The deaf tennis community is so sweet! I love how patient and enthusiastic they are with their facial expressions. I also love the willingness they have to make me feel comfortable around them, even though I am not as experienced with the deaf culture or sign language. They want me to understand them, so they will take the time to teach me.
Friday Chapman won her first-round singles match, beating Susana Ricci-Bitti of Italy in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. She will face top-seeded Chiu-Mei Ho of Chinese Taipei or Vanessa Krieg of Germany in the second round Sunday.
Chapman and Team USA partner Emily Hangstefer of Signal Mountain, Tenn., will play their first-round doubles match Saturday against Chia-Wen Lin and Te-Shiun Sha of Chinese Taipei.
To read the Ledger-Enquirer's June 30 Sunday Living feature that tells Laura Chapman's background story, click on the link to the right.