By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Today's Q & A Session is with former softball great, Constance Quinn. Before Quinn made her way to LSU, She grew up in Oak Grove, Mississippi and excelled in basketball and softball at Oak Grove High School.
She became a starter on her high school softball team as a 7th grader and went on to earn All-State honors during the 2010, 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Quinn batted .447 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs as a senior, as she helped her team win the 2013 6A championship where Quinn scored the game-winning run.
She was a nominee for Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year award.
Constance also played travel ball with the Louisiana VooDoo.
Q - What is your favorite color?
Quinn - Purple
Q - Favorite Food?
Quinn - Steak and Potato
Q - Favorite Pro Athlete?
Quinn - Bo Jackson
Q - Favorite Music Artist?
Quinn - Growing up was Kirk Franklin, he's a Gospel Artist. Now,... I don't have a favorite artist now, ... but I love to listen to Instrumental Core Music.
Q - Favorite Movie?
Quinn - Troy
Q - Favorite Actor?
Quinn - Denzel Washington
Q - Favorite Pro Team?
Quinn - Real Madrid in Soccer and the New Orleans Saints
Q - Did you grow up in the Oak Grove, Mississippi area?
Quinn - Yes. Lived and grew up there. I actually went to PCS (Presbyterian Christian School) from Kindergarten and 1st grade. Then from 2nd grade until I graduated, I went to the Oak Grove schools.
Q - When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Quinn - I actually wanted to be a doctor for awhile, and then some where along the line that changed.
I got really into architect engineering. I began to love the structure of buildings. Inside, outside, the interior, exterior design. From that point on I would tell myself that I want to really get into that when I get older.
I loved to draw. So I would draw what I would want my house to look like and different things. My parents had these architect magazines in the house so I look at them and draw different things from the pages that I liked, and say, "I'm going to have that in my house one day." It's still something that I would want to get into if I would have the chance.
Q - When you attended Oak Grove High School did you play multiple sports?
Quinn - I did. I played basketball and softball.
Q - Please tell us about your accomplishments in high school sports....
Quinn - Well basketball I was a starter on the varsity team as a 9th grader. It was very interesting. Because, of course in any sports you have your ups and downs.
I learned a lot from the players that were on the team, because I was the baby. They kinda took me under their wing, each and every one of them, which was really cool. They accepted someone young coming in.
I made great relationships and friendships with each and everyone of them and still to this day have great times. I learned a lot about leadership and what it meant to step up on a bigger platform. So to me that's where it started.
Understanding that it doesn't matter how old you are or what grade your in, you can still be a leader. It just depends on how hard you want to work. So, that's where it started.
Then of course there was softball which has always been a passion of mine. In softball we won the State Championship my senior year.
Didn't win one in basketball. I believe we got close. In my sophomore year we made it to the second round and got put out by Jim Hill HS. I believe the next two seasons were kinda the same thing.
But we still got that ring for softball. I guess I walked off kinda satisfied, but at least I got a ring from somewhere. So that was pretty much my career at Oak Grove.
Q - From what I understand, you scored the winning run in that state championship game?
Quinn - Yea. That was crazy.. So I was on 3rd base. Kalyn Watts was up to bat.
We had this thing that we would squeeze. The coach wouldn't call it. We just had this thing, that we would look at each other.
She knew she was going to put the bunt down, I trusted that she was going to put the bunt down and I was just taking off on the pitch.
At that point we knew we needed the run and we had done it before so many times in other games. So when we got to that opportunity.
So the pitch went, she laid the bunt down and it was just crazy. It was a great moment.
Q - Tell us a little about your high school coaches and how they influenced you during your athletic career....
Quinn - Yes. I'll start with softball. My coach's name was Gary Ivy. He is actually no longer at Oak Grove. He retired a couple of years ago.
When I was in 7th grade, I was playing varsity starting at short stop.
He was so laid back. A very chilled guy. Not much talk to him. But what I loved about him was that he allowed us to play.
It's not that it wasn't structured. He would put us together when we needed that. But as far as just allowing us to play the game that we all loved, he gave us that opportunity.
That's something that most coaches don't give. They are so about mechanic sound and the technique, which it is. Any sport that you play is about technique and mechanics, but a lot of coaches want their team to look a certain way when they swing the bat or field the ball, and of course that's understandable.
But he was never like that. That's what I loved about him was that he allowed us to go out there and, it's what I like to call it,... just go out there like sandlot and just play ball.
It can get exhausting, it can get tiresome, and it can get old very quickly. I think that a lot of us that are not longer playing the game or playing at a professional level, .. and we try to tell kids whether we are training them or at camps or clinics, we try to tell them to keep the level game theirs as much as you can.
We try to tell everyone, you can be so talented, but if you don't love the game anymore, then that's when you're done.
So for him, at my age, as a teenager, and going into college, for him to give me the opportunity at a young age to play at that level and to play like it's travel ball. Like you have six games that day. Play like it's forever. That meant a lot, and I carry that with me when I went on to LSU. That's pretty much it for Coach Ivy.
Now on to Mark Swindle my coach at Oak Grove in basketball. He is currently still there. He's on his 10th or 11th season. He came in actually during my sophomore year.
My freshman year I had a different coach. Her name was Crisla Herchenhahn. So I want to tell you a little about her before I get back to Coach Swindle.
She came in when I was a 9th grader and was a tough coach. If you talk back to her, or you had an attitude, or you didn't want to hustle or give effort that day then she was going to kick you out of the gym. That was one of many things that I loved about her was that she meant business and she meant what she said. No drama. You might not of liked her, but you were going to respect her because she stood by her word. That made me want to fight for her that much more.
One day during school practice, she told me that she was going to start putting me in some varsity games, so she needed me to start coming to after school practices. After school practices were for the varsity players.
Our point guard was pretty cool. She took me under her wing, she was a senior. Which is very rare. You never see that. She was a senior competing for a spot with a freshman. A lot of people would take that personally. Wouldn't try to help you. She wasn't like that at all. I had no clue what these plays were. She told me that I'd do good and to not worry about it. Just giving me advice and trying to help me calm down. So when I mention that the girls took me under their wings, treated me like they were my big sisters type of role. That blew my mind. So from that point forward what it did for me was I carried that same mentality as I progressed on in my career and throughout sports.
If I'm ever given the opportunity to help someone, even if they are competing with me for the same position. I'm going to help them, regardless.
So whoever the coach puts out there at the end of the day, you have to trust in her starting lineup and you want to win. So you're going to cheer on. At the end of the day you're competing for a spot and challenging each other, but when it's all said and done and that line up is called out, it's best man win.
So she put that mentality there and gave me that encouragement without even saying it. She just lead by example. So that's how that began.
We called her Coach H. She was often tough. Very much about discipline and that's when it started for me at that level. It was, don't show up for practices late or you will run and you will regret it. You better have a better excuse then 'I have school work or a doctor's excuse',..that kinda thing.
She was a hard working coach and actually before I even got to LSU I said, This is one of the hardest working coaches that I've ever been around.
Now about Coach Swindle. There is one thing about him is that he knows the game of basketball very well. He has played it. He has also coached on the college level.
But with him coming in during the coaches change between my freshman year and sophomore year, coming in he was very different from Coach H.
He wasn't discipline. If someone talked back, like I said, if you talk back to Coach H you were going to get kicked out. If you kinda talked back to him, he just kinda took it and that just blew my mind.
It was kinda like that show, 'Wife Swap'. It was kinda like that. I was like, "Oh my gosh." I'm not use to this. It's like at first you have a mom or dad that's discipline and then you swap out and you have a totally different type of personality. That's just how it was.
What I liked about him was, he never had that giving up mentality. He always had a great attitude. And of course he was a coach. That's your job, but a lot of coaches can make it about money and just get the check and just be like, ... ' okay girls, here we go. Let's go." ... But he was really about all getting better.
One thing I know about playing for him for three years, and actually this past season was an assistant coach under him for the girls team. One thing that has never changed about him, he still is the same way is, he loves working on plays. I never understood it when I played for him. I never understood it.
At practice I was like, "Why do we keep working on plays? Why can't we work on skills and things." Really what that taught me now that I'm on the other side of it, looking at it from a different perspective, it taught me that it was another way of discipline in the game of basketball. Anytime that something breaks down, you always have other plays to run.
It was also about reading defense and reading different players in a shift. It's very similar to football in that way. But that was something that I learned from him throughout those years and made more sense of it as I began to see him from a different side.
But he was very discipline and very structured when it came to plays and then learning the game of basketball. Your IQ and how to play the game and how to read things.
Another thing I loved about him was that he would actually step out there and run the plays and show us different things. It was kinda cool at what he say, that we didn't. To have that connection with your coach, especially at point guard. You see what he sees. It's just like a quarterback and a head coach in football, they have to see the same thing.
I really had some great experiences with each one of those coaches. They all taught me something that I took with me to the next level and really just giving me an opportunity at a young age. That just shows their trust in me, despite of what I had to bring and what I had to offer the team. They saw something in me that I obviously didn't see at that age and in the end in was the preparation that I needed to learn to get to the next level.
Q - Tell us a little about your recruiting process...
Quinn - I was recruited very young. Actually, Yvette Girouard was the head coach at LSU at the time.
At the time I was playing for a team called New Orleans Voodoo. I played with them from when I was 14 years old until I graduated from high school. So it was like four seasons. I'll never forget this. At the time I was playing for a team out of Mississippi called the Mississippi Elite, and we played the Voodoo in a tournament. They wiped us, like 13-1. I actually scored our only run. I got one first. Stole second. Stole third. Then stole home.
So after the game the Voodoo coach, his name was Jeff Burns. He found my parents and talked to my parents about me playing for them. So he invited us to a team get-together scheduled for the next weekend. He said, "Come on down and visit and lets see if she has any interest in joining our team." ...
My parents told me about it and I was a little bit hesitant about it at first, but I went along with it. They were telling me that this was a great opportunity that could help me get to the next level.
At the time what I was beginning to understand was that in order to play at the next level, and not just any division one school, but the schools that go to the World Series and to even have that chance, you have to go to them. You have to play in tournaments in Texas, Florida, Colorado, those type of things. The New Orleans Voodoo actually traveled to tournaments like that at the time.
So my parents were explaining that to me on the ride there. When we got there, the first thing they said was, "Hello Constance, It's very good to meet you. What school do you want to go to?" .. At the time I was the 7th grade. They asked, "What school do you want to go to?" I said, LSU. Then they said, "I tell you what, if you join this team, we can get you seen, and you will go to LSU." When he told me that I was like, "okay!".. So we walked in the house and I met the team.
After the visit, my parents asked me what did I think? I said, "Yes, I want to play here." ... So from that point, I started to play with the Voodoo. They kept their word. They did just that. We actually ended up going to Colorado in a big tournament out there. That's when LSU saw me and ever since would come out and watch me.
My next year in 8th grade, I was given a visit to LSU. Went on the visit, and they asked me, "Is this where you want to be?" and I said "Yes.".. So I verbally committed to LSU in the 8th grade. That was one of the longest waits of my life, was from 8th grade all the way to graduation. But that's how it got started.
Q - What made LSU so special to you that made you decided at such a young age that this is the school I want to attend and play ball at?
Quinn - When I was really young I had a Uncle who was a huge LSU fan. He and my Aunt lived in New Orleans. So every weekend we would travel down there.
New Orleans is like a second home. My mom has sibling who live there. So every Saturday we would go there to visit and he would have a LSU football game on.
I was young, but I would see him get so into it, like so passionate about it, and you were watching the fans on TV go crazy. I was like, "What is it about this school?" So I'm watching the players and I'll never forget a player beat on his chest. He made a sack of something and he started to beat on his chest and it gave me goose bumps. I was like that's the coolest thing I've ever seen. Of course, everyone does that. But there was something about the way that he did it and how electric the stadium got, and how pumped up my Uncle was watching it. I'll never forget that.
From that day forward I did my research looking into LSU and what it was and the traditions of it. There has to be something that people are so passionate about that made them go that crazy over LSU and why those guys on the LSU teams play the way they play. Because you weren't getting paid. You were playing on a scholarship.
But it had to be something because I had never seen such passion on a field like that. So at a young age that's how it started and ever since I became a LSU fan. That was something that my uncle and I shared. So every weekend, we would watch LSU football. It came to a point that I started to listen to them on the radio and follow them throughout the season. When they were playing, I had it on, watching.
I was five years old and I was at my grandmother's house. At that time I knew nothing about softball. I was playing baseball. I played baseball from the age of three, all the way until I was ten, and then went to softball. So at five years old, I didn't even know that softball existed.
So I turn the TV on and the first thing that was on was LSU softball. I remember it was Emily Turner pitching and Leslie Klein catching. I remember that because she struck someone out, and Turner and Klein both got pumped and they started beating on their chest and I was like, "There it is again.. What is that beating on the chest thing?.." ....I remember that moment, I was so tuned in to the TV.
Look, I'm a firm believer in God and Christ. I believe that we have a calling, that we have a purpose. I believe that he places visions in our lives so that we understand what we are called to do.
For some people it's visions. For some people it's talking. It's different things. It just depends on your relationship. But at that age God gave me certain visions. He allowed me to see what it was really like to be passionate about LSU.
As I was watching LSU softball playing on TV, it was the weirdest thing, I literally saw myself in the jersey. From that day forward I would always tell my mom and dad that I was going to play for LSU.
It's not that they didn't believe me. They didn't understand how it worked. Just like me, lacked the understanding of how the recruiting process was. So, how does this happen? You're from Mississippi. They don't come out here to watch, it's not like that with softball from what they knew.
For some reason though, what they were saying was going in one ear and out the other. I was so caught up in that I was going to play for LSU. I saw it, I felt it, I believed it. That's all I needed. So from that point forward I understood at a young age that that was nothing but God placing a vision in me. For me to understand what my calling was. What my purpose was. From there, it was all about working and staying focused. LSU was the goal.
Q - During your senior in high school, LSU had a coaching change. Coach Girouard would retire and Coach Beth Torina would finally get the Head Coaching position. Did that change affect you in any way?
Quinn - That whole process was crazy. After Coach Yvette stepped down and retired. Then it was actually Pat Murphy who was going to come in and take the job next. He stayed here for like a day, then went back to Alabama.
Then is was announced that Beth Torina was going to be the coach. I really didn't know much about her, so I looked her up. I saw that she had a background. That she had the skill set to take us to the next level. She played at an SEC school so she knows what it's like to compete in the conference. She had been a coach for many years and has also coached at the professional level. So I'm looking at all this and I see she has what it takes to take us to the next level. I firmly believed that.
A big thing I was worried about was if I was going to get my scholarship taken away. I didn't now if she had the power to take that away. I didn't know how that worked. So that was really my concern.
I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. So with a coaching change that was God moving in a way that we just didn't understand.
I was kinda prepared for the way that she was as a coach, because of Coach H and different things with Coach Swindle and Coach Ivy. But she was tough. I'm going to be honest, besides my mom, she is one of the most savage women I have ever met in my life. I want to tell you that's one of the reasons why I wanted to play for her and continue to play for her.
She is one of the hardest working coaches I've ever played for. She is so courageous, her strength and her mentality is just about going and getting it. Regardless of what circumstances she might be facing. Challenges and obstacles that are in the way, she is going at 100. Not in a way of 100 not thinking. It's like 100 knowing her next move.
She is very strategic and I love it, because she always had a plan. No matter what happened she always had a plan. She had a plan A, She would have a plan B, and she definitely would have a plan C. That was so cool about it. When you go to war for someone you know they're a leader. She's a leader.
As a coach, you want to trust in someone and fight for someone that has a plan. That's why I like that movie Troy. You always need a plan when you go into battle. They had a plan with that horse. They built that horse, and that was such a strategic plan of attack and that's kinda how she was. She was very prepared. Very much about preparation.
Going forward after my freshman year, we lost to Arizona in the Regional at Arizona. I thought that was one of the worse days of my life. That was like a dagger to the heart. Being a freshman, I didn't want to see it end for the seniors, because of the fight that we had that entire tournament.
I'll never forget the look on coach's face. As if she was going to get our revenge, and when she did, we were going to beat any team that got in our way. In a way she took the blame. A lot of coaches get caught up in, "We didn't do this, and we didn't do that.."... She really took the blame and it really blew my mind. It was like she was so ready to get back home to start preparing for next season. I guarantee you that is just what she did.
The cool thing about coach was that she never slept. Having three kids, a husband, a family, then having us to worry about. She was always worried about us and how we were going to do in the season. She had a lot of weight on her. For her to handle working to keep a job, then going home to feed a family, was the most admirable thing about her.
Throughout those years that's why I wanted to play for her and not just play because it's LSU, but to fight hard because we had a leader and someone who was going to go to battle for us.
I'll never forget this game. We were playing at Northwestern State Louisiana and Bianka Bell was up to bat. Now everyone knows Bianka can hit. Coach is down coaching third. Bianka nails a line drive and it hits coach in the head. Coach Beth falls down. We were all in the dugout, like, "Oh My God..".. For a second she didn't move, but then she just popped back up like nothing happened. We are like all crying asking if she is okay. Bianka was crying, it was so frightening. Come to find out if the ball would have been any further up, it would have knocked her temple and then who knows what that would have done to her.
So she popped up and the craziest thing was, she didn't shed one tear. She had to be removed so they could run some test to make sure she didn't have a concussion. She didn't want to leave the game. She was coming around clapping like, "Here we go! Here we go!"... I was like, what in the world.
From that day forward I said that woman is not human. Nobody gets lit up like that by Bianka Bell and stands back up like nothing happened. Then she didn't want to leave the game, she didn't shed a tear, She wanted to stay out there and she was encouraging us as they were taking her off the field. I will go to battle for that woman, because that's a true leader.
I definitely knew that she was going to leave a mark on LSU in a positive way. Before you know it, she'll have a championship title under her belt. She's gunna do it. But I'll never forget that moment after all these years.
One of the things that I respect about her is she gave that five year old me a chance. The five year old kid that told myself that I was going to play at LSU. The same kid that would watch the World Series, thinking how much I would love to play there. To be on that team and compete for a national championship. She gave me that opportunity for three years in a row.
Because of that, that will be something I'll always be grateful for. So when I look back at LSU, I look back at the fact that I learned what 'fight' meant. What 'passion' is. What it means to play for LSU. She always said, "It's putting 'LS' over 'U'.....
We only had one jersey that had our names on the back. She was very much about taking that off and have it only being about what was on the front. What I thought was so cool was, she still gave us the opportunity to be us. To play for our families and different people and different reasons why. But she always directed it to, ... You play for those things, but you put it all out on the field for LSU.
Because of that I'll always be grateful for her. I'll always be in her corner and supporting her. She has already done remarkable things at LSU in such a short period of time. It's only a matter of time until she brings us a title.
Q - Can you tell us about the most memorable moments in your LSU career?
Quinn - I have to say that beating Arizona in the Super Regional to go to the World Series after losing to them in the Regional the year before has to be one of my favorite moments EVER at LSU.
Probably in my top three. Like I said you lose to them at their home and after what was crazy was we were on the bud leaving to go shower before heading home. So their was this drunk man outside the bus screaming, "ARIZONA! ARIZONA!" ...
I was so mad. If I was a cartoon, I'd have steam coming out of my nose and my ears. I was so angry and I'll never forget, I walked off the bus with the intent to tell that man to shut your mouth. So I'm getting off the bus and our volunteer coach grabbed my arm and stopped me and was trying to calm me down. Then some teammates came to try and calm me down. Literally, it wasn't worth it. You could jeopardize your season and career over a drunk man being out of control. I had to come down to reality.
I'll never forget that moment, and that was the revenge that I saw in coach, that I saw in that moment.
We actually played them earlier that season in a tournament that we would go to often in Palm Springs, California. We were lined up to play them and it was actually one of the biggest games in that tournament.
At the time we were playing incredible. We were like 16-0 I think. So you had Arizona who put us out the year before, so everyone wanted to see that game. It was pretty electric game. I think we won it, 4-3.
That was the first taste of revenge that I got. After the game, Coach Beth said that this won't be the only chance that we will have to get them back. We'll see them again. My heart was beating so fast when I heard that. I was like, "I can't wait, I can't wait"...
So sure enough, we were watching the NCAA election show and we saw that we would have the opportunity to play Arizona again. The Super Regional came around and sure enough, Arizona made it. The practice that we had before we played them was the most electrifying practice that I have ever been a part of.
Literally when I tell you that we were so amped up and ready to play them. I don't think they understood how excited and how ready we were, and how prepared we were. So going into that game the fans base, I'll never forget the fans were incredible. The stadium was packed out. It was loud. It was exactly what LSU is all about. Being able to experience that was remarkable, but then to win the game was better. Knowing that we had this chance to get them back was just the most incredible thing. It's a memory that's definitely up there that I will never forget.
Another great moment was during my freshman year. We were playing against Boston University.
This was an elimination game in the Regional. We were down, can't remember by how much, but it wasn't by much. But it was towards the end of the game, around the 6th inning. We all thought we were done. We thought the game was over for a second.
It was Sahvanna Jaquish who was up to bat and she hit a home run and I'll never forget how lit we got in that dugout and how amped we were. We rushed out to home plate and the Ump had to keep telling us to back up. The coolest thing was that when SJ hit that, she pointed at the seniors and said, "That was for y'all.".. Everyone on the team was bawling and crying, because it wasn't that we thought the season was over. When she hit that, we knew we were in this game.
But it was that fight that we all felt in that moment and what it meant to be a Fighting Tiger. What it meant to play for LSU in that moment and if you didn't fell that, then you didn't deserve to be in a LSU jersey.
That was something that I always wanted to experience and I got that opportunity, right there in that moment. It stuck with us. It stuck with us freshman. That was something the seniors taught us without sitting down and telling us. They lead by example. Those seniors actually had the opportunity to go to the World Series a year or so before. So they knew what it was like to play there and they wanted to take us back. Not one senior on that team ever gave up. So for a freshman to jog around those bases and point at the seniors and say, 'That was for you', while she beat on her chest, that was the coolest thing.
Then Bailey Landry stepped up and hit a triple to score a run. It was just everything that happened in that game. It made it more real about how it was to play for LSU. It wasn't about you. It wasn't about who did it. Who made the game winning hit, or who scored the winning run. It was about playing for one another and representing LSU. That's what LSU is. It's the fight. We fight until the end. We don't give up. That was the game where I really learned what it was like to play for LSU. Yea, that was another game that I will never forget.
The last big memory was beating Florida, at Florida during my sophomore year. That had to be the greatest moment, with us becoming the #1 team in the nation for the first time in LSU history. That was incredible. It left a taste in your mouth about how it feels to be great. Something that you work so hard to achieve and you finally get a taste of it. So to beat the Gators in Florida and win that series was incredible. Those were my top three memories at LSU.
Q - What was it like to play in the College World Series in Oklahoma City?
Quinn - It's incomparable. Everything that you dream of when your watching it, It's that and more, except your out on the field, in a jersey, competing, and people are cheering for you.
I actually had played on that field before with the Voodoo in a tournament. But it's nothing that can compare like actually being there in the World Series. Honestly, I'm going to tell you, I was a little star-struck when I got there. You're nervous. You're like, "Oh my gosh.." ..
You know everyone is watching and you don't want to mess up. But it's the kind of moment that when you step on the field, you just need to take it all in. You look around and your grateful for it because this is what you have always dreamed of. But I'm the type of person that if I think about it too much like that, my emotions would take over me. I had to just take it in and be appreciative of it.
But playing there, not just one year, but for three years in a row was incredible. Just the opportunity to be there, because your playing against All-Americans, your playing against people I use to watch on TV. Playing against some people who hold records, who have won the World Series already. Then your playing on national television.
You just don't realize who is impacted by your performance and who is impacted by the player that you are. Coach would always tell us, "You are always being watched." .... Especially on the level and the platform that you play on. You are always being watched. It was the coolest thing to know that somebody, just like myself when I was younger I was watching Natasha Watley. I would always say that I wanted to be and play just like her, and now I'm in that same position with a little girl ask me for my autograph. That was the coolest thing, signing autographs. It's crazy because when you're younger, you work on your autograph trying to see what it will look like, and now you get to use it. It was just a cool thing to think back too, but to experience was a whole other level.
Q - I didn't know this, but you actually played on the LSU basketball team for a short period of time. Would you like to tell us a little about that experience?
Quinn - It was actually pretty interesting. I want to back track a little to start. When I was a commit to LSU in 8th grade, and Yvette Girouard was still there we were sitting in the office. After she gave me the offer she asked me if I had any questions. I said, "Yes, I do have a question." .. I asked, "Can you play two sports here at LSU." ..
Because at the time, Chad Jones was at LSU and playing two sports, starting in both. I was so intrigued by that. I didn't know you could play two sports at this level. I had never heard of it. After watching him play football on a visit, then turning on the TV and watching him play baseball, I was like, "This guy is a Beast." ..
From that point forward I was inspired to do the same. Coach G said, "Yes, you can play two sports. .. But it's very hard. We have people who do it, but it will be pretty tough. You would need to be very committed and have time management." ... I really didn't think nothing of it, I was just being curious.
So during my junior year, I'm working to class and my coach calls me. She says, "I'm asking for them, Would you like to play basketball?" I was like, "what!?" .. because I would joke with her all the time about playing basketball and being on the team. She was like, "Yes, serious, would you like to play?"
This was happening around December, so we were about to get a little break, then come back and get ready for the softball season. I was like, "There is no way. I could get hurt. Anything could go wrong." .. There is no way she is asking me to play basketball. It was the most back and forth decision I've ever made. One second I would say, yes. The next second I would say, no. I didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize the upcoming softball season. Then I would come back again and say, You know maybe this is an opportunity to do something that you haven't tried before. I kept going back and forth, then finally said that I need to get some peace on it. So I called my parents and we prayed on it and I said yes and agreed to it. So from December until late January, I was on the basketball team.
It was pretty incredible. I was a little rusty, but going out there and having that experience. Again it was another opportunity where, their coach took me in.
They didn't know me that well. Being new to the team, they took me in as one of them and that was a pretty cool thing. Another story where I didn't have to be taken in, but they did anyway and would take me under their wing. The way that those girls would help me learn the plays and then stay after and work out and work on basketball skills to help me out, it was cool. That's something that I'll never forget.
The chance to play UConn at UConn was incredible. I got to play in the game for like two minutes and I grabbed a rebound. So that's a record that I could hold with me. It was pretty incredible to have that opportunity.
To do something that not many people get a chance to do. A few things that I learned during that semester while I playing with them was, One - What hard work really was. We were getting into January, so softball was back in play and back to practice. So I would have softball practice, then I'd have a basketball game. I had to learn how to balance it. It was strange but not one time was I exhausted or tired.
I really was intrigued by the work ethic that it took. I knew it was going to make me better. I knew it was going to challenge me. I love being challenged. I love competition. And that to me was a challenge, having to balance it out, but having the endurance, the stamina, and the energy to go between both.
I'll be honest, I didn't play much except for a couple of minutes in a couple of games, but being on that bench, it wasn't like I was wishing I was out there. Knowing what it meant to lead a team from a different prospective, that's what really helped me. What they did for me was it allowed me to realize that leadership isn't just about being on the court or the field or being a starter. Leadership is being put in different positions where you need to put others above you.
Regardless of what you're going through, what challenges you have, It's putting your teammates over you. I learned that in that moment.
I had a chance to work with Temeka Johnson, who is a former LSU basketball player. I remember we had a game the next day. Well we had basketball practice. Then I would have a 30 minute break. Then I would have softball practice, and she would ask me if I wanted to shoot around after. At this point I was tired. We were running up and down the court, so I was pretty gassed out.
I was like, this is what it's like to really work. To want something bad enough bad enough, that you were going to push yourself beyond your limitations. That was something that my dad would share with me. He would say, "You will never know what you're capable of unless you push beyond your limitations." ..
In that moment, I really experienced that. You need to have that mentality to work hard and to push yourself. Because if you never learn to push yourself, how will you ever succeed. It just doesn't happen. Now whether that was for me to prepare myself for a game or what have you. It was a chance to experience what it was like to work hard. That was one of the coolest things that I have had accomplished.
It sticks with me now while I'm out in the real world. Everyone is competing. Everyone is out to succeed. It's not just going to be handed to you because of what you because of what you have done. .. Yea I went to LSU. But a lot of people don't care about that. A lot of people are trying to get theirs. But understand at LSU, there is a different atmosphere.
So not only did I learn at a young age what it was like to have the passion and what it was like to play with heart. Going there, you're surrounded by other athletes that walk the same campus that you walk. That have that same hunger. It's a different type of hunger that you have at LSU.
It's something that you learn to understand once you step on that campus. What it means to play for them. What it means to really be a Tiger. It's not about you. It's about the campus, the community, It's about Louisiana, what you represent. That's what gives you that drive, that bite, that hunger. To be more and do more.
That's why a lot of people that come from LSU, take it to the next level, because you get a taste of what it's like to be great at LSU. You get that platform, and now you're put out into the world to exceed beyond your expectations and they do better and greater things. Because you undertsand what it take to represent more then just you. That's really what I took from LSU.
Q - Please tell us about what your doing as a career now...
Quinn - Now my main focus is being a personal trainer. I've been doing that for almost two years now. Crazy thing about that was, after my career I stayed in Baton Rouge a couple of years, then I decided to move home.
Moved back to Hattiesburg, MS. to figure out what it was that I wanted to do. I had no clue on what direction I wanted to take. Before I knew it, I was really encouraged from different mentors, especially my parents to take on personal training. I love working out. Love being in the gym anyway.
It's kinda weird how sometimes what your hobby is, is what your calling is without you even realizing it. I took it on as an opportunity to kinda further myself in this career, so ever since I've been working my way up. Taking advise, learning how to become a better trainer. But I've also learned that it's a big industry. There is many avenues to it. It's not just training someone one on one. You can become a strength and conditioning coach. You can take it to the next level and travel with people. There are so many things that you can do with it to become successful.
But what I loved the most about it was, I have always wanted to do something that was along the lines of competing in college, which nothing really comes close, but, when it comes to training people and the motivating side to it, that I loved about it. When it came to motivate my team. To push my team and encouraging them, I love that. I love being that Energizer Bunny and hyping up the team and getting us ready for competition.
Personal training gives me that same opportunity to motivate my clients or motivate a group of people or whoever comes through the door to train. To take on the opportunity to head them in the right direction.
One thing I've learned about, especially now, during this crisis. Health is so important and I think people are starting to see that now more then ever because of what's going on. I really believe that fitness is going to take over.
I really feel that if I'm given that opportunity to encourage people and motivate people to become a better version of them self. To me it's not just the physique of the body and having a six pack and abs. That's great and that's a benefit of working hard. But it's a lifestyle that you need to be willing to commit to. It's a change in your diet. It's a change in your sleep pattern. It's a change in what you put in your body. It's a whole routine.
Once I took that on two years ago and really decided to be serious about it. Now I'm leading people in the right direction. Now people are coming to me for advice. If I want to preach it, then I need to practice it. I've got to be about it. I can't just talk the talk. Anyone can talk it, but not many can walk it. So I want to be the person that people say, "She doesn't just mean what she says and speaks on it, but she does it on a daily." ... So it's something that I'm embracing and that I want to further myself in the career of.
Q - Anything you want to tell LSU fans?
Quinn - As always.. Geaux Tigers and Forever LSU!