Over 25 years ago, Erinn Quinn jumped at the chance to play a sport that changed her life.
A three-sport athlete at Mt. Hebron, Quinn — now Erinn Quinn Davis — dropped her softball glove and picked up a lacrosse stick just as girls lacrosse was getting started in Howard County.
"I had always been a fan of lacrosse," she said recently. "My dad would take me to men's games; he graduated from Hopkins," a long-time NCAA powerhouse in the sport.
"Softball was very boring to me. When I had the opportunity to be able to play lacrosse, I jumped on it."
After a year of club status through parks and recreation, in 1988 girls lacrosse became an official high school sport in Howard County. That was 25 years ago.
Davis was a junior. She was a novice, unseasoned player, but so were so many others. What she had on her side was intensity, speed, an excellent coach in P.J. Kesmodel and teammates who were willing to listen, learn and work hard.
"Our goalie Linda (Ohrin) and I still laugh. She would clear the ball to me halfway up the field. I had speed and I had a wild shot whether I hit or miss. It was that aggressiveness that I had."
The pair worked for hours and hours on their own. "We didn't have the skills," Davis said, who played center. "We would work on throwing the ball against the wall."
Throwing and catching, along with cradling, are the basic fundamental skills of lacrosse.
That first year, Davis scored 44 goals and helped Mt. Hebron post a 7-0 county record (10-3 overall). She led her team into the regional finals. There was no state title at the time.
For her efforts, she was named the county's first girls lacrosse Player of the Year.
"She is a money player, the kind of kid you want on your team. When things get tough, she comes through in the clutch," Kesmodel said at the time.
Also making the 1988 all-county team, by their position names at the time, were: homes — Bridgette Drake (Mt. Hebron), Jen Webster (Glenelg) and Betsy Flanagan (Atholton); attack wings, defense wings and center — Beverly Choe (Centennial), Rebecca Savage (Centennial), Lisa Gates (Hammond), Janice Israel (Mt. Hebron) and Julie Stone (Glenelg); point, cover point and third man — Suzi Tucker (Centennial), Farah Anwar (Glenelg) and Carrie Malone (Mt. Hebron), and goalkeeper — Linda Ohrin (Mt. Hebron).
Davis led Mt. Hebron to a second county title her senior year (1989). The Vikings were again undefeated (7-0) and earned another appearance in the regional/state finals. Her 85 points (65 goals, 20 assists) led the county and she was named Offensive Player of the Year. Glenelg's Julie Stone was the Defensive Player of the Year.
Davis' lacrosse ability earned her a college scholarship to Temple University, which was just coming off of a national championship. She played for Temple for five years.
During the preseason of her senior year, she blew out her right knee in indoor practice. She red-shirted and rehabbed and came back for a fifth year.
"I was having a phenomenal year. I was leading the country in points, and then I blew out my left knee at the University of Virginia. I was rounding the cage and there was no one near me. …It was a pretty devastating end to my career at Temple."
Davis earned a degree in education from Temple.
After college she played some club lacrosse and ran. "I don't have completely healthy knees but I am able to work out and run," she said.
She also coached at a private school in Philadelphia and officiated lacrosse, something that she might get back into when her children William, nearly 6, and Ella, 4, are older.
"I was so fortunate to have (basketball coach) Dave Greenberg and P.J. They were so instrumental not just in teaching me about sports. I learned morals and so many life lessons through them. I really credit them for much of who I am now."
When she moved back to the Baltimore area, Davis decided to switch to nursing, a profession that had always been in the back of her mind. Her grandmother had been a nurse.
With a master's in nursing education from Johns Hopkins, Davis can combine her love of education with her love for pediatric nursing.
Now a clinical practice and education specialist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Davis commutes to Baltimore from her Eastern Shore home in Queenstown three days a week to teach clinical nursing.
"I love my job. It's a wonderful career," she said.
She and Glenelg graduate Bill Davis married seven years ago.
"I am hopeful that my kids will be athletes and involved in sports," she said. "I hope that they have great coaches like I did."