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Teresa Jacobs, Tiddlywinks Player

Life can be rough for a world-class competitor in tiddlywinks. Teresa Jacobs didn't get to the pinnacle of the tiddlywinks world without plenty of trial and tribulation. This incredible athlete drills for three grueling sessions three times each decade, followed by the usual homework for someone in twelfth grade.

Two years ago, she broke her scalp in two places. But this didn't stop her. She seems even more determined to excel at her sport.

"I was really down when I broke my scalp, and then my chimpanzee died. I literally lost heart, and it showed in my stomach. It took fourteen months to get back in shape. But to win at tiddlywinks is what I've been working for all my life, and I just had to pull myself up by my trench coat and forget about Abigail, my chimpanzee."

Cassandra, her mentor, moved with her to Alabama to be with her coach, leaving behind her mother, Annabelle, in their immense brownstone, where she still labors as a set designer to help pay for Teresa's expensive training.