There are a few people you come across in a lifetime that you know changed you into someone better. The really great ones have this impact on pretty much everyone they meet- in person, virtual, briefly, or as a long-time mentor.
I don’t know if it’s the size of their love for others, their empathy, passion, thirst for knowledge, relentless pursuit to make a difference or the fact that they have all of those happening day after day.
It’s not that they are perfect or don’t falter, struggle, or question things. I think that, just maybe, it’s that their vulnerability is happening simultaneously as they continue to pour into others. That is what cracks open the soul and transforms those fortunate enough to call them friend, mentor, and in this case, Coach Tucker.
I’ve been fortunate to get to play for, work with, and be on fields with some of the great coaches in women’s lacrosse. There are coaches who know the game, and coaches who know leadership, and then there are some who set the bar so high that all other coaches following behind hope to live up to their greatness for decades following their retirement.
28 years of building Jays, loving on her athletes, and genuinely loving the game with a full heart. In a culture that many coaches are burning out in- she has been a light that has brought so many to the game and elevated it like a cascade of baffled parents turning into competitive coaches spurring hot beds of lacrosse growth.
I cannot wait to see where she takes her knowledge and mentorship after this season. The Blue Jays are going to have awfully hard shoes to fill, and little nuggets clamoring to grow up and play for the great CT are mending broken hearts all over the country right now, but the rest of the coaching world is about to gain one of the best mentors, speakers, writers in and out of lacrosse.
I can’t speak for her, but if you’ve ever worked alongside CT then you can’t for a moment think this is it. We appreciate you Janine, we salute you, we thank you, and we owe you so much for what you’ve done for our game. If everyone who was impacted by this amazing woman were to gather in a room, we would need the biggest stadium we could find.
I know all this praise is killing you right now, haha!! But you deserve it and much more. Make sure you take at least 3 days off after your retirement, ok?? Ok 2…
Congrats on your epic and astounding time at Johns Hopkins. One more, and then… Onward!!!!! You are loved.