There is always that one person that saw something in you that no one else did. That person that made the bet, put in the time and went the extra mile. For many, it’s “coach.” For me, it was Coach Griffin.

Jan Griffin was my elementary school coach. She taught PE – so I had her every day of my life from 3rd grade through 8th. She also was the woman’s team coach for all sports and cheerleading. As a four sport athlete and cheerleader, we were pretty much joined at the hip.

Now, I must admit at the time she was NOT my favorite person. She was always “picking on me” – pushing me to do things differently. She was always taking me out of my comfort zone – making me an example. She would monitor my grades and my behavior and often hold me accountable for my actions, even if she was not directly affected. She would even get involved in my personal life – as much of a personal life as an elementary kid can have at the time – to make sure I didn’t fall into the wrong crowd. Little did I know she was laying the groundwork for what would become a pivotal moment in my future.

Coach Goff was the basketball coach at Kinkaid, an elite private high school in Houston Texas. She had seen me play and had spoken with Coach Griffin about me. Between the two of them, they facilitated an interview and testing at Kinkaid – which long story short – became my new home for 4 years. Here I played not only basketball but volleyball and track. I received an amazing academic experience which more than well positioned me for my next move to SMU.

I graduated Magna Cum Laude from SMU and went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude in my Master’s program. I met my husband at this point and began what would become several crazy cross-country trips and global excursions. I have and continue to have an amazing professional career – and have continued to find joy in sports as a rec athlete and coach for my children.

I could not have been better prepared for life – and to know how to enjoy it – if it hadn’t been for that one person, who maybe pushed me a little too hard because they saw something that I didn’t know I had.