When I was 7, Duke player Brian Davis came to my school and joked that none among us could spell the last name of Duke’s legendary coach. I piped up, standing unbidden to recite the string of consonants with pride.
Visions danced in my head of Davis running back to basketball practice to tell Krzyzewski of a little girl like none other, whose dedication to Duke basketball was so great and so deep that she could spell Krzyzewski. I beamed, sure that my ticket was in the mail. It was not.
By the time I was 9, it was clear I had to work harder. Every year, the Duke Children’s Hospital held a holiday card contest, in which all the city’s grade-schoolers competed. The prize was to have your art printed and sold as a Christmas card to benefit the hospital.
The awards ceremony would be presided over by none other than Coach Mike Krzyzewski. In pursuit of a personal audience, I began to color as I had never colored before, the markers becoming truly magic in my little hands.