Nashville Native Headed To London As Olympic Referee
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
Tenn. – A Nashville native is headed to London in just days, but not as an
athlete. She will serve as a referee.
think of the Olympics, you probably think of the sacrifice of the athletes and
the fierce competition needed to be at the top of their sport – but they're not
the only ones.
Grinter is a former employee of the Ford Motor Company who took a leave of
absence years ago to pursue refereeingfull-time and has never looked
There was no
way of knowing as a high school student that her journey would come full
transform from being an athlete at Glencliff (High School) and going on to
referee and referee these kids that are still coming up," she said while
standing on the basketball court at Glencliff. "And here I am about to go
on another journey, in another country to referee the Olympics."
sound of it, still makes it feel surreal.
never a dream to be a referee," Grinter explained.
As a star
basketball player at Glencliff, Grinter instead dreamed of becoming a
professional basketball player. She even went on to play for Volunteer State
I needed a credit in health and (physical education), officiating, can't be
that hard," she told herself.
she met a division one referee who spoke to her class and changed her life.
She went out
there and everything that I was showing them she was a natural with,"
Charles Watkins remembered.
why don't you referee to make a little extra money because I was on a
basketball scholarship," Grinter explained. "So I needed a little
on to work at the Ford Motor Company, but still officiated basketball games on
officiating for the recreation league basketball games, then middle school,
high school, college and then the pros, soon leaving Ford behind.
skills, her character, her morals have all enhanced her career," Watkins
preparing over the past twenty years for the ultimate assignment, the Olympics.
The only woman in her field called to represent the United States in London.
screamed and I hollered and I prayed and I cried," Grinter said about
getting the news. "And I accepted (the offer). I had to hold it in. I
couldn't speak (about) it for about two months."
not only representing us. You're representing our country," a friend told
her while giving Grinter a hug. "What an honor. What a blessing. What a
milestone. I love you."
plenty of love to go around as family, friends, colleagues and coaches gathered
for a celebration.
excited for her," Watkins said during the luncheon. "It's almost like
seeing your child graduate from the highest level."
nothing more prestigious for referees than officiating at the Olympics.
a dream come true. This is a dream come true."
sights are set on the gold.
not matter as long as Team USA brings home that gold. Whether it be our
basketball team or if it be me as a referee."
the first whistle this is one game where the winner is already determined.
brought chills but it's all done from the Lord above."
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:04 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:04:23 GMT
by Chris Cannon DONELSON, Tenn. - Vietnam veterans were honored with red carpet treatment Tuesday night at the Grand Ole Opry. A marching band led the veterans through Opry Plaza and into the famed musicmore>>
Vietnam veterans were honored with red carpet treatment Tuesday night at the Grand Ole Opry.more>>