Abercrombie's summer job to pay unexpected dividends on the basketball court


Grace Abercrombie had no idea that her summer job — umpiring youth T-ball, baseball and softball games in Jacksonville — would enhance her presence on the basketball court.

Abercrombie, a NCAA Division I prospect, who was recently named to the Tyler Morning Telegraph's All East Texas team as a first team pick, command's a physical presence on the basketball floor; that is certainly no secret, but Abercrombie, who will be starting her junior year in August, is a quiet and soft spoken young lady.

That is in the process of changing, according to Jacksonville Fightin' Maiden head basketball coach Lynn Nabi.

“Working as an umpire this summer seems to be bringing Grace out of her shell a little bit,” Nabi said. “I have noticed a change.”

Abercrombie said that although she hadn't realized a personality modification was taking place, she seemed to agree with her coach.

“Working as an umpire forces me to talk and to speak up,” Abercrombie said. “Working with the smaller kids that maybe playing (softball/baseball) for the first time, I am always communicating with their coaches. Sometimes they may not be familiar with the rules, or they will run to the wrong base, things like that.”

Abercrombie agreed that she feels more comfortable in being more vocal and more assertive, due to her summer work experiences.

Aside for work, Abercrombie, who plays for the Texas U AAU travel team, is planning on playing quite a bit of high-level basketball this summer.

“We will be playing in several big tournaments, including ones in Indianapolis and Atlanta,” Abercrombie said.

Abercrombie said playing top opponents from all across the United States is a positive thing for her.

“Everything has been going good so far,” she said. “Playing in these tournaments is a real adrenaline rush for me because you have to be on point when playing top competition AND there are usually 20-30 college coaches watching the game, so I don't want to mess up.”