Severna Park's Shinaberry: conformity isn't a handicap

Technology helps goalie focus on playing, team, not her hearing disability

High Schools

Notebook

April 18, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A certain athletic footwear company once advertised the motto, "Be Different." Brooke Shinaberry is OK with contradicting that slogan.

At first glance, the sophomore goalie for the Severna Park girls lacrosse team doesn't look anything like a person who suffers from a hearing disability. It's difficult to even see the digital hearing aids Shinaberry wears in both ears.

And that suits her just fine.

"I went through a period of denial," she said, noting that she endured stares from other children during her elementary-school years. "I felt different, but I didn't want to be different."

Shinaberry suffers from neurosensory hearing loss - a type of nerve damage in the ears that she was born with, said her parents, Henry and Vicki Shinaberry.

Although Brooke Shinaberry has had to wear hearing aids since she was 4 years old, her parents said she never developed a speech impediment because she learned to read lips.

Vicki Shinaberry said her daughter despised wearing her old hearing aids, which were visible to anyone around her. But since she received digital hearing aids four years ago that can be tucked away in the ears, Brooke Shinaberry has been, well, different.

"She was quiet, almost shy," Vicki Shinaberry recalled. "Now she's more social, and sports has become an outlet for her."

Brooke Shinaberry, who also played on the soccer and basketball varsity teams this year, is the starting goalie for the No. 4 girls lacrosse program. Although the digital hearing aids cost about $3,000 to replace, Shinaberry wears them inside her lacrosse helmet during games and is a relentless competitor.

"Brooke's the kind of person who, even though she has a hearing disability, wouldn't let you know it because she's not going to let it deter her from what she wants to do," said her coach, Carin Peterson.

That grit personifies Shinaberry, who said she is no longer worried about drawing attention to her hearing problems.

"Just because you have a disability doesn't mean that you can't do whatever you want," Shinaberry said. "I just want to take my hearing impairment to help push me further in life."

Coming back home

Homecoming weekend usually takes place during the fall, but Kim McNemar will make the trip back to her old stomping grounds at Mount de Sales this Saturday.

McNemar, a former Mount de Sales student, will take her South River girls lacrosse team to compete in the Friendship Tournament, an annual tradition at Mount de Sales.

"It's nice," McNemar said of the impending return. "I grew up in Catonsville, and we get to take the kids out of Edgewater and expand their horizons."

McNemar went to Mount de Sales during her first three years of high school, but transferred to Catonsville High for her senior year.

She then coached Catonsville between 1992 and 1999. In 1996, she guided the Comets to the school's first Class 2A-1A state championship in girls lacrosse.

McNemar recalled playing for former Mount de Sales coach Bill Held, who started the Friendship Tournament. At South River, McNemar said she has adopted a few of Held's traditions, including the awarding of a game ball to the team's most valuable player after every game.

The Seahawks are scheduled to meet St. Paul's at 9 a.m., while the host Sailors take on Archbishop Spalding at 10:30 a.m. Should South River and Mount de Sales both advance to the championship game, McNemar would face Mary Gagnon, who once coached a club team with McNemar.

"I look forward to it," Gagnon said. "We're good friends, but we're also competitors. We both like to win."

Softball

North County pitching ace Brittany Boyd is still day-to-day after pulling the hamstring in her left leg during Saturday's Cavalier Classic.

Boyd, a junior who garnered All-Metro softball honors last season, continues to feel tightness in the leg and was supposed to sit out yesterday's home game against Gwynn Park, said Knights coach Bobby Boyd, her father.

Boyd said junior Heather Frye would stand in on the mound for reigning Class 4A state champion North County (currently ranked No. 6). Frye is 3-0 this season and has allowed just four runs in five appearances.

"The way Heather Frye threw all weekend, I feel good about her stepping in," Boyd said.

Eighth-ranked Glen Burnie will attempt to defend its county crown without one of its key players: junior catcher Jessica Griffith, who tore some ligaments in her left thumb while playing basketball with her father Friday.

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