Some years that's meant having as many as three schools using Hobbit's or Fairway Hills as their home course.

"She's made sure that both courses have been as available as possible and has accommodated pretty much every special request we've made," said Mike Williams, the county's high school coordinator of athletics. "We've come a long way with our golf program in a short period of time and there's no way we could have done what we have without people like Joan.

"Bottom line, she cares about making things work for the kids."

At the end of the day, for Lovelace, who's lived in Howard County her whole life, providing opportunities for the community's next generation is one of the reasons why she got into the business in the first place.

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"Golf has played such a big role in my life, I'm just happy I get to teach it and share it with other people," Lovelace said. "It's kind of funny to think how things have evolved from back in those days when I was just that little girl out there at Hobbit's caddying for my dad."

—Brent Kennedy

Erica McCauley

Until she was well into college, basketball was the focal point of Erica McCauley's life.

"I grew up in a family where that's what we did. We'd watch TV and sit down and analyze the game. We talked sports all the time," she said.

McCauley started dribbling a ball in her basement when she was 3. Her older sister, Christy, was right beside her, also shooting at the 5-foot-tall rim their father had installed.

"That's how we would entertain ourselves," McCauley said.

Competitively, they fed off each other, each encouraging, but also trying to out do, the other.

Their father, Jim, realized that the offerings for recreational girls basketball in Howard County were slim, so he approached the Columbia Basketball Association and volunteered to start a clinic for 5-7 year-old girls. Christy was 6; Erica was 4 and she got to tag along.

That was the beginning of many weekends in the gym.

First it was for rec ball, where they played, kept score and officiated; then travel teams and AAU national tournaments, including a trip with the first Howard County AAU team to go to the national tournament.

The 1990 Baltimore AAU team that McCauley started on finished third in the nation.

"I was a gym rat," she said. "I cannot study unless there is noise, that's because I grew up doing homework in a gym when we had four games on a weekend."

Homes were accommodated for basketball. The first house had the empty basement. At the next one, in Kings Contrivance, the McCauleys petitioned the Columbia Association to let them install an outdoor basketball hoop. The prerequisite for the house in the Mt. Hebron district was that it had to have a 3-point arc on the driveway.

"We had to have the driveway redone," McCauley said.

The 3-point shot was just coming into play at the high school level and it was destined to be McCauley's shot.