Going for the Goal

Miriam Larson advances in goalball competitions


Senior Miriam Larson poses with her adult goalball team on the day of a competition.

Ava Swanson, Editor

Imagine a game of dodgeball. Now, try reversing it and adding a three-pound rubber ball into the mix. Finally, make sure all of the players have blindfolds on. This sequence is how senior Miriam Larson likes to describe her sport. 

Goalball is a sport designed for athletes with a vision impairment. In goalball, two teams of three face off across a court and attempt to throw a ball filled with bells into the other team’s goal. The objective for the defensive team is to listen for the ball and stop it before it can reach that goal. By doing so, they become the offense. 

“It looks really simple on the surface, but there’s actually a lot of technique and really complex movements to it. It’s more detailed than people think it is,” Larson said. 

As she’s been competing in the adult league for around a year, Larson has had plenty of time to build these necessary skills. She first took up the sport when her current coach, who plays for the U.S. Women’s Team, gave her the push she needed to attend the first practice. 

“She actually told me that she would see me at my first practice,” Larson said. “It wasn’t a question. It was ‘You’re going to goalball!’”

Even with this first push, Larson was extremely reluctant to start practicing at first. 

“I had just lost my vision, which was a hard change, so the idea of being thrown into a whole new community of people was just very different,” Larson said. 

Despite her hesitation, Larson quickly discovered parts of goalball that she looks forward to in both her youth season and adult season. Larson’s youth season ends with Youth Nationals in Florida this weekend, and she will then move on to her adult season beginning in January. 

“I’m excited for the adult season to start because those are harder tournaments and you travel more,” Larson said. “There’s a good chance I’ll be in Brazil next summer for our first international tournament, so I’m excited for that.” 

After this final high school season for Larson, she plans to accept an invitation to train with the U.S. Team after she graduates. She also intends to stay connected to goalball throughout her time in college and beyond. 

“I plan on majoring in kinesiology, which is about body movements and mechanics, and then going into coaching and physical therapy,” Larson said. “Goalball is what got me into what I want to major in in college.”