March 21st, 2014 | Uncategorized
It was about eight years ago when a very respected Division I basketball coach told my sister Erin she would make a pretty decent Division II basketball player. He told her she would probably not be good enough to compete on the court at a higher level. On Sunday, Erin will be leading her team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Storrs, Connecticut against the University of Georgia.
Erin is currently a senior captain for the St. Joseph’s University Women’s Basketball Team. It’s the same school my mom played for, as well as where she now holds the Assistant Athletic Director Position. We are a year apart in age, and grew up lucky enough to share the same passion in the sport of basketball, along with our youngest sister Shannon. It probably came with being in the gym since the day we were born, when we used to be babysat at the gym at SJU while my mom was coaching.
Although Erin is a year younger, I have always looked up to her in every aspect of life. She is the most loyal and genuine friend and sister anyone could have; always there for those close to her whenever they need her. She excels in the classroom through her countless hours of studying and dedication, and she has managed to surpass all expectations of a 5’5 women’s basketball player in Division I College Basketball with her hard work and perseverance. Just to brag about her a little bit, Erin will finish her career among the program’s all-time leaders in points, three-pointers, assists and free throw percentage. She has been named to the Capital One Academic All-District 2 Women’s Basketball Team, as just one of 43 student-athletes nationally that are now eligible for Academic All-America distinction. She has broken the school record for games played, with 127 to date. She was chosen to the Atlantic 10 All Conference Second Team, as well as the All-Academic Team. She has proved to be one of the best shooters in the country. As humble as Erin is, no one would ever know just how successful she has been in her career, and that is just another testament to why she is such an amazing person and role model.
She truly is someone all parents should have their kids look up to. She is someone who has not only made me a better person and player, but someone who inspires me to be my best on a daily basis. Every teammate she has ever had could attest that she has made them a better player. As a leader, she demands the best in everyone, just as she demands for herself. She has a resilience that is so rare, she refuses to fail.
No one ever saw the hours the girl has put in on and off the court. The hours she spent when everyone left the gym after practice, or the mornings she wanted to get some shots up hours before practice or a game even started. The hours she spent working on her speed, agility and strength on her own time, doing anything she could to get ahead. The success she has had has not been luck, it has been pure benefits of her hard work and dedication. No one ever saw the nights she stayed up all night preparing for her upcoming exams, or the hours she spent speaking to my father about how she could expand her knowledge on the subjects she was learning. No one, except her teammates and coaches, ever saw the passion she had during every single practice she played in, and her refusal to give anything less than her best day in and day out.
Hawk Hill has always been a home for our family, and I’m so happy Erin has been able to succeed on this ground. Taking over my mother’s footsteps with staying close to home, and wearing the jersey she once wore. Hawk Hill has been blessed with her presence on and off the court, and she will leave behind her a legacy that will be hard to follow.
It has been an honor to see her grow, and see the person and player she has become. No one deserves the amount of success that Erin has earned more than her. I am so proud to call her my sister, and beyond privileged to have been able to share in the success with her. One of the hardest parts about being abroad this year, and going away to school for four years, has been missing seeing her on a daily basis, and seeing all of her hard work pay off in person. Even across an ocean, her presence has always been here, making me demand the best out of myself. I’m so blessed to call her a best friend, sister and teammate.
Love you so much Er!
Tune into ESPN on Sunday at 5:30 (or 9:30 if you’re with me in Ireland!) to watch her play! Good luck to all of the Hawks!