The youngest child of three, I grew up in Naperville, IL with sports being a major part of my childhood. Being the youngest, I was constantly in competition with my older siblings and their friends and always ‘outdoing’ myself just to keep up with them. At the age of four my mother put me in swimming because she had a fear of water that she never wanted her children to experience. Surprisingly, I was a natural and went on to swim competitively for 10 years. Along the way I played your typical recreational league sports like soccer and baseball. I surfed every summer and snowboarded every winter-thanks to my older brother and his aspirations for adrenaline filled sports. But, it was swimming that taught me a lot about dedication, hard work, and yearlong commitments to practices and competition.
However- you must remember that during this time Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were winning championships left and right and my true athletic dream was to play professional basketball. For a few years I learned to manage my time playing year round basketball and year round competitive swimming. At the ripe-old age of 13 I quit swimming to pursue my dreams on the basketball court. Unfortunately, I was a scrawny 13-year-old and my height (at the time) did not make up for my lack of stature so my high school basketball career lasted all of one year. I was cut my sophomore year-unfortunate for them-because I would eventually grow to, what would have been the tallest on the team, six feet seven inches! Regardless of what people say getting cut from any team can be devastating to career goals and it wasn’t until four years later that I decided to pick up the ball again. I was introduced to a pick up league at Lifetime Fitness where I met a gentleman who was willing to put me on a travel team. I meet and played with some of the top high school and college players in the area. From there, I was recruited to try out for a Jr. College in Pratt, Kansas. I had to dig deep on the court and off the court to succeed. I end up graduating with honors and helped lead my team to a Conference Championship and on to the sweet sixteen. One of the most amazing times in my career. It taught my so much but mostly that I was able to accomplish anything if I put my mind to it.
My Jr College experienced turned into a scholarship playing for a four-year Division II university. I earned a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education from Missouri Western State University and well…. the rest is history.