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CHASING RINGS


PROMISE FULFILLED


When Brooke Griffin sees a hawk, she knows she’s not alone BY MATT WHITE


The first morning that Brooke Griffin awoke in her new apartment in a new city far from home, the first sound she heard was one she knew by heart: the call of a hawk.


A three-time All-American at


Maryland, Griffin was in Boston in the summer of 2015 to start her job as an assistant coach at Boston College. For the first time in her life, she was living more than 30 miles from her family home in Edgewater, Md., but she loved the apartment she’d found just a five-minute walk from campus. Still, she bolted from her bed that first morning. “I put my PJs on and ran outside,” Griffin said. She surprised a new neighbor, who asked what she hoped to spot by craning her neck around. “I said, ‘I’m looking for a hawk.’” “They said, ‘Oh, one lives right above your house.’”


In a tree towering over the house, Griffin saw a nest. And in a new city far from home and family, she knew she wasn’t alone.


42 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE May/June 2017


Since 2010, Griffin has found herself surrounded by hawks. In her eyes, the birds are a direct link to her mother, who passed away before she enrolled at Maryland. How could they not be? Griffin, who led the Terrapins to back to back NCAA championships as a two-time All-American, would spot the soaring birds circling over lacrosse stadiums or hovering over traffic with her family. At Maryland, where Griffin fought through a seemingly endless string of injuries, she would play wall ball for hours in the Terrapins’ stadium, alone, except for a white hawk that kept watch over her from a nearby tree. And on visits to her mother’s grave, they’ve landed next to her, keeping quiet company. Griffin’s father, Skip, has watched her belief in hawks grow, and witnessed it himself. “She would go to the field and be working out by herself, there would be a hawk,” he said. “She’ll come home and we’ll go to the cemetery, and there will be a hawk sitting there looking at


us. She moves into a house, there’s a hawk. It happens to her all the time.”


When Griffin sees a hawk, she said, she knows it’s the fulfillment of a promise her mother, Jodi, made to her one night near the end.


“She sat on my bed, and she was like, ‘Listen, I will give you a sign I am near you,’” Griffin said. “I’m watching you. I’m protecting you. I promise you I will give you a sign.”


Jodi Griffin was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer just as Brooke entered high school. She fought through a year of treatment and even reached a hopeful remission stage. But in the summer before Brooke’s junior year, the disease returned.


All the while, Brooke, the third of four daughters, was becoming a brilliant lacrosse and field hockey player at South River High School in Edgewater, recruited by every major


USlacrosse.org


©SCOTT MCCALL; ©SHUTTERSTOCK


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