Guest Column: Shannon Pickell Griffin Enters WMU Hall Of Fame
Editor Note: Shannon Pickell Griffin was a standout athlete at Newaygo High School and carried those skills to Western Michigan University for a stellar collegiate career. Recently, the late Ms. Pickell Griffin was inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame.
As part of the ceremony her aunt, Maureen Madrid Wilson...
...delivered the acceptance speech on her behalf.
We proudly honor this former Lion and Bronco athlete by posting the speech Ms. Wilson gave to the gathering
Good evening. My name is Maureen Madrid-Wilson and I am here representing my niece Shannon Pickell Griffin who passed away in December 2012. This is Shannon’s son - Kendall Griffin – her daughters Paris and Jade could not be here tonight.
We are here celebrating her induction into the Western Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Now, I could rattle off statistics –
Leading scorer in the Mid- American Conference
Unanimous pick to All Mac First Team
Setting WMU single season scoring record with 538 points
Highest career field goal percentage in WMU history-setting 5 school records… the stats go on and on…..and some school records still stand today...
Shannon was, obviously, a great athlete – Kendall took after his mom playing basketball and her daughter Jade excelled at volleyball, and her daughter Paris is the most like Shannon…..
She WAS a great athlete…and we have such great memories of coming to Western and watching her play. We’d go to away games and watch her play. Watching Shannon was ALWAYS exciting…whether it was watching her drive the lane, shoot from the outside or go up for the rebound!
But… let me share my most vivid memory of Shannon. Now, we were only 6 years apart in age – so in many ways we were more like siblings than aunt and niece…. This is one of my memories of Shannon…. Picture a Christmas scene – family all gathered around opening presents…I received a treasured Barbie doll – I was SO excited!!! Well, Shannon, who must have been 2 or 3 at the time – wanted to play with my BRAND NEW doll. In a typical grandparent/parent response, my mom (Shannon’s grandma) told me “Oh just let her play with it – she won’t hurt it! What could she do?” I gave Shannon my treasured new toy- she immediately took it, turned it over, and happily began playing with this treasured toy…then-she grabbed both legs and SNAP! There went my brand new toy! Yeah, thanks, Shannon
Jump ahead a few years…Shannon was a tomboy… no fear…willing to try ANYTHING. Heaven forbid if anyone DARED her to do anything! She was known to go out to our horse pasture and jump on my horse- no saddle – no halter and just ride. There were a few trips to the Emergency Room- just ask her mom!
I remember when I was in college taking her to campus with me and she thought it would be FUN to dive off the 3 meter diving board – and just did it!
Shannon was – to say the least,- a free spirit.
Now, when Shannon was growing up, it wasn’t like it is now…where you start putting your kids in sports in elementary school. So she didn’t have the early years to practice her skills. She really wasn’t sure what she wanted to do…I remember her dabbling in gymnastics and she had QUITE the flair for the dramatic!
But then Shannon got a basketball in her hand and she found her niche. Then she found volleyball. Then she found track and field, particularly the high jump – yet another niche. She even participated in the National Junior Olympics- finishing 6th in the Heptathlon – she could hurdle (because that girl had the LONGEST legs!); high jump; run; throw a shot put and throw the javelin! Shannon was the only girl from Michigan that year to be invited to participate.
And with all that…Shannon was quoted as saying, “It is pretty widely known that I don’t like to practice.” But she did.
You just needed to keep Barbie dolls away from her.
Thank you again for this honor. We wish Shannon was here to accept this herself, but her children, Paris, Kendall and Jade, their dad Ken; her mom Pat, brother Jamie and the rest of our family and her friends are humbled and honored and forever grateful that Shannon will be remembered not only for being the amazing athlete that she was, but an amazing mom, daughter, niece and friend.
Thank you again.
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