Who is the antagonist in Brian Piccolo A Short Season?

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When you think of the term antagonist, ordinarily a person comes to mind as the person opposing the protagonist. However, in Brian Piccolo A Short Season, the real antagonist is the cancer which takes his life. At the time, he was considered one of the rising stars in football with everything a star could want.  Because the cancer struck when he was young and successful as a player, the tragedy seemed to be even worse.  He struggles with the diagnosis, the treatment, his desire to return to football, but as everything falls apart, he comes to realize that this time, his antagonist will win.  He comes to the stage of acceptance, and in this story, the antagonist wins with his death.

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