HAGERSTOWN — If home is where your heart is, then Tracy McKinsey’s home is on a volleyball court.
And McKinsey was home last Saturday.
“It makes me feel a whole lot better when I’m on the court with the girls coaching,” McKinsey said before leading her squad to a victory in the WACO Spikefest Eighth Grade All-Star Game. “It’s truly a passion.”
McKinsey, who coaches at Western Heights Middle and previously led North Hagerstown High School’s varsity team to appearances in Maryland state title matches in 1997-98, couldn’t be on the bench in 2010. Last August, she was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent treatment, including chemotherapy.
Several high school teams held fundraisers to help McKinsey last year, and Hagerstown Community College held a “Rally for Tracy” recreational tournament, with the proceeds going toward her care.
"More than anything, it was just so humbling to know so many people care,” McKinsey said. “Even people I don’t know came forward.”
McKinsey’s volleyball influence can be found across the county. She coached several current coaches, including North Hagerstown’s Megan Crawford and Smithsburg’s Rachel Brashear, who both led their teams to state titles this season.
“It’s terrific to see,” McKinsey said. “I don’t know how much of a hand I had in it, but I enjoy watching their success. ... I was so excited for North to finally get the monkey off its back.”
Clear Spring’s Sabrina Lee, Blazers JV coach Rachel Grantham and Williamsport JV coach Karen Moyer also played for McKinsey.
“It’s nice to see the girls come back and get involved in the community,” McKinsey said. “I coached all of them at some point. ... It’s my passion, and I’m not sure I realized that until I got sick. Volleyball was something that lifted my spirits.”
McKinsey’s daughter, Tana, played in the eighth-grade contest — for the other team, which was intentional.
“I wanted to be on the opposite team,” Tracy McKinsey said. “Just to have a little competitive fun. We’re a competitive family.”
Mom won bragging rights at the dinner table of her home away from home.