Poly senior Erin Cox has been a top volleyball hitter in the Baltimore City league for three years. An All-City first-team selection last fall, she leads the Engineers, who are in first place in the league and looking to win their first city title since 2003. She started by participating in club volleyball with her sister Lindsey, 19, who played at Western. Erin Cox, 17, plays for Time Out For Sports and would like to play in college. She plans to study business and would like to own her own business. Cox, a B student, has volunteered with Special Olympics and the Red Cross and also worked in the mayoral campaign of her aunt, Del. Jill P. Carter. Her grandfather is late civil rights activist and freedom rider Walter P. Carter.
How did you get started playing volleyball?
My mother was watching the Olympics before my sister went to high school and she saw how long and lean they were, so she said we should try it.
Did you like that idea?
I didn't really watch it with her, but I went to some of my sister's [Starlings Volleyball Club] practices and I was nervous, because I was the only young one at the practice. When I messed up, everybody would get into trouble (laughs).
How much of an influence was your sister on you playing volleyball?
She was pretty big influence, but we never really talked about volleyball like that. I just used to watch her play.
What do you like best about volleyball?
Hitting - and the competitiveness. I like when it gets real intense and you actually get to play up against the competition instead of playing down to the competition. It just makes it more fun on the court.
What makes the rivalry with Western so intense?
It's just been like that for years. Just being out there against your rival school. What makes it intense is how much you want to beat them. Everybody comes out to cheer for you and that's the only game everybody comes out to cheer you on. That makes it even more intense.
As a senior, is there more responsibility?
Yeah. Now I'm a captain and it's a bigger responsibility, because now, the seniors last year, I can see how they felt. You want it more, because it's your last year. You want everybody to come together as a team and play their best.
Did you play volleyball over the summer?
I didn't want to play over the summer. I wasn't tired of volleyball, but I'd just rather not play. I wanted to work, because you have to pay for so much in your senior year. I jogged and I kept in shape. Maybe coming back, it made me want to play more.
You said you'd like to have your own business someday. Do you know what kind?
I'm taking entrepreneurship class right now. At first, I wanted to have my own restaurants, but now I want a cruise line.
Do you have a role model?
It used to be my sister, because I used to follow everything she did, but now it would be my Aunt Jill and my grandmother [Joy Carter], because they're real independent and strong. My mother [Judith Cox] too, of course. Of course, she's going to be my role model. I'm always with her.
What's on your iPod?
Everything. I like a lot of different songs, Fall Out Boy, Jay-Z, Avril Lavigne. I have a lot of old songs on there, TLC. I usually listen to my friends' iPods, because they update their songs and I don't.
What kind of work did you do in your aunt's campaign?
When she ran for delegate, I helped her in the office and I would pass out flyers house to house, and then I did that this year when she was running for mayor.
What does it mean to you to have a grandfather who was such a prominent civil rights activist?
It means a lot. I never met him. I ask my mother, "What was it like to have a father like that?" I know he was in jail a couple times and he [coordinated for Maryland] the March to Washington and he also met Martin Luther King Jr. I wish I could see what was going on back then, but we don't talk about it.
If you could sit down and talk with anyone, living or dead, whom would you pick?
I would probably pick my father's grandmother, because she was born in the early 1900s. I always wish I could flash back and watch what they were doing back then, how they lived and stuff. I wish she was still here, so she could tell me stories about what happened. You watch movies now and you look back in like the 1930s how the racism was, so I'd just want to know if she faced any of that or if she was in a neighborhood that was all one kind of people and no one treated anybody different.