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Why I love sports: Oklahoma Golf Hall of Famer LeeAnn Fairlie loves coaching even more than playing

LeeAnn Fairlie plays in the first round of match play at the Women's Southern Golf Association tournament at Gaillardia Country Club on June 3, 2014. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]
LeeAnn Fairlie plays in the first round of match play at the Women's Southern Golf Association tournament at Gaillardia Country Club on June 3, 2014. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

Editor's note: LeeAnn Fairlie, a 2012 inductee in the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame, tells The Oklahoman why she loves sports.

I grew up with three older brothers and I went to watch all of my brothers' games. I began playing softball in third grade, basketball in fifth grade and golf through the OKC Golf Inc. Junior program in sixth grade. I played my first five-hole golf tournament at Lake Hefner when I was 11. I continued playing all three sports at Northwest Classen and then went on to play women's golf at the University of Oklahoma. I continue to play amateur golf tournaments today.

Playing sports taught me how to live life. The ups and downs of games and tournaments helped me understand the ups and downs of life. How to be a good teammate, how to get the best out of tough situations, and how to think clearly when under pressure.

Although I love playing sports, I love watching and coaching sports more. I've coached multiple sports either high school or youth since 1993. I just retired from coaching volleyball at Crossings Christian School for the past seven years. When I first started coaching basketball at PC West, my dad asked why I coached, because they sure didn't pay enough, and I said, "Dad, I love it so much, I'd do it for free!"

He said, "Don't tell them."

Coaching is so exciting. You get to see kids grow and change from your encouragement and instruction. They go from not having a clue how to do something to becoming excellent at it. That transformation from fearful to confident is a fun adventure. As a coach you get to influence your team in so many positive ways. Hopefully they learn how to dream big and sometimes those dreams come true. (See: Crossings Christian, 2017 3-A state volleyball champions.)

My true JOY came from watching my two children play sports at Crossings Christian School. They played football, basketball, baseball, track and volleyball. I was literally at some game every Friday night for eight straight years and usually at one or two more games throughout the week. My husband and I would have game date nights, although we rarely sat together because we both cheer loudly and sometimes had different opinions about how things were going. This was such a GREAT TIME and I would not have changed a thing. Sports is a FAMILY LOVE for us.

Now that my kids have gone to college and I'm not coaching I will have time to play more golf tournaments and play my new favorite sport PICKLEBALL.

I can attest you can truly love and play sports your entire life.

Why do you love sports? Email us your response at NICsportsdesk@oklahoman.com.

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