Sports of The Times: Chemotherapy, Then the U.S. Championships, for Gabriele Grunewald

Candor will not banish fear. But it does give her a sense of agency.

“I’m a young adult with cancer,” Grunewald said. “I don’t always love talking about it. It’s not a made-for-TV movie. It’s real. It’s scary.”

She gives and she receives, and that helps. “I love when people reach out to me, because it helps me get out the door.”

We walked to a tent behind the grandstand. Not so long ago, her life story formed a sweet narrative with a Rocky curlicue.

Grunewald grew up in tiny Perham in Otter Tail County, a three-hour drive northwest of Minneapolis. She rode the bench in basketball. Running, even as temperatures dropped to 10 below and ice formed on her lips, was her freedom.

“Small-town politics could make team sports a…

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