Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Medford’s Krislyn Arthurs had to grow up faster than the typical girl playing in this week’s Cherokee Strip Conference Basketball Tournament at the Chisholm Expo Center Coliseum.
Most girls say they enjoy “hanging out with friends.’’
Arthurs hangs out with her one-year old daughter Kinley.
“I’ve had to grow up in a real big hurry,’’ she said after scoring 12 points in the Lady Cardinals’ 55-26 win over Ringwood in a consolation semifinal.
She wants no pity, being grateful for supportive parents, teammates and coaches like Medford head coach James Baldridge.
“You can’t help what’s already happened, that’s the way I look at it,.’’ Arthurs said. “I come from a real religious family. There was a lot of praying and a lot of crying. I can’t do much about it except carry through with your actions.’’
Arthurs’ dream remains to become a surgeon. Her interest in the medical field comes from an aunt who is a nurse.
“My mom wasn’t going to let me quit,’’ Arthurs said. “My daughter is my motivation to keep me going. I want to make a good life for her and myself.’’
Kinley’s father is no longer in the picture. She answered “nope’’ when asked if that makes it harder on her.
“People say it (having a baby) can ruin you life or change your life,’’ Arthurs said. “This has made me into a much better person. I used to be a really selfish person.
“It’s hard to balance everything. I just have to put my daughter before myself. That’s how I look at my team now. You can’t put yourself above the team. You have to look at others, too.’’
Having a baby in high school does bring criticism. She never thought of having an abortion.
“You find out who your friends really are,’’ Arthurs said. “I wish I waited before having a baby, but that’s something I can’tdo anything about. My basketball team has been very supportive. They’re a great group of girls.’’
Teammate Trista Cripe admires Arthurs’ dedication and resolve.
“I know I couldn’t have done what she did,’’ Cripe said about Arthurs’ comeback. “It has to be really tough to come back and balance your school, basketball and just life.’’
Arthurs has enjoyed being a mother and seeing her daughter grow. Kinley goes to as many games as possible.
“The funniest thing is to watch her learn new things,’’ Arthurs said. “I get to be her teacher. You just learn to cope with things. I’m a good multi-tasker.’’
Arthurs said the hardest thing about coming back to basketball was getting in shape. She didn’t gain much weight, but was out of shape when she returned to the gym following Kinley’s birth.
“Being out a year made it hard to come back,’’ Arthurs said. “I lost my groove and it took me awhile to get back into it.’’
She was grateful for Baldridge’s understanding and support. Baldridge is in his second year with the Lady Cardinals.
“He’s a great coach and a great man,’’ Arthurs said. “He was very understanding. He helps us in any way that we need it.’’
Baldridge said he tried not to prejudge Arthurs.
“I was looking at her as a kid coming back and playing ball,’’ he said. “She does what we wanted her to do. She loves to play the game. She handled herself well. It just took her a while to get back in shape and back in the groove.’’
Baldridge saw something in her return to the gym.
“I knew she wanted to play,’’ he said. “She’s done a good job. I’m proud of her.’’
Arthurs hasn’t lost her enthusiasm. She admits it was difficult to get up for an 11 a.m. game “because I don’t have much energy in the mornings, but you have to get motivated and be ready to win.’’
“It’s more like a practice than a game,’’ Arthurs said. “You don’t have the crowd to get you motivated.’’
Yet the Lady Cardinals seemed motivated on a day three players — Cripe (13), Arthurs (12) and Abby Osborn (10) —were in double figures, and another (Shelby Quinlan) had nine points.
“I like to get rowdy,’’ Arthurs said. “I scream to get everyone else pumped up,’’
Her favorite thing about basketball is “winning’’ and camaraderie with teammates.
“I couldn’t do it without them,’’ she said. “They make it fun. I wouldn’t trade this team for anybody else.’’
But her priorities have changed. Cripe said she enjoyed hanging out with friends. Arthurs, after a game, may spend some time with teammates, but she’s is first and foremost a mother now,
“Basketball isn’t life or death now,’’ Arthurs said. “My faith has helped me get through this. It’s challenging.’’
She’s up to the challenge.
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.ꆱ