by Hanna Grissom
Coach Carrie Brinkley graduated from Spurger High School where played volleyball, softball, tennis, ran cross country and track.
That's where Brinkley learned that winning is not everything.
"In life you are not always going to win, you have to learn to persevere and move on," she said.
"If you want something you have to put in hard work to get it. Hard work gets results," Brinkley said. "Being involved in sports taught me how to trust others as well as myself. Sports also taught me to accept criticism and use it to improve. You have to take chances. Life is short and you don't want to regret that you didn't give something a chance."
Brinkley went to Lamar University. Her inspiration to become a coach came from her high school coach, Debbie Hollyfield.
Throughout middle school and high school Carrie never even gave college a thought. She never made straight As or even Honor Roll. She didn't believe she had what it took to cut it in college.
She breezed through high school until halfway into her senior year. Coach Hollyfield helped Carrie believe in herself on and off the court, on the field, and throughout numerous counseling sessions on long bus rides.
"She motivated me to do something with my life," Brinkley said. "I will forever be in her debt for what she has done for me."
Brinkley has been coaching since 2006. She coaches the Spurger Pirate Tennis Team. Her goal as a coach is to make a difference in at least one student's life for the better. Carrie wants to be an example like her coach.
"You actually have to listen and show love to the kids you coach, not just coach them.
Brinkley wants her athletes to learn important life lessons through playing sports. She wants them to feel as if they belong to something awesome and for them to believe in themselves. She is loved by each and every one of her athletes.