Courtney S. Crooms was born on January 9th 1992 to Derick and Meshal Crooms in Killeen, Texas. Born into a military family, Courtney, along with her older brother Daniel, traveled quite a bit early on, settling in places from Germany to the Washington D.C. area. Always one of the tallest in her class, Courtney became very active in athletics at an early age. She excelled in volleyball, track & field, and her passion… basketball.
As part of a family that stressed the importance of academics and overall well-roundedness, Courtney excelled in the classroom as well, achieving a 3.5 cumulative GPA throughout her entire middle school career, and would have attended the Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (SACA) as a student, and member of their lady’s basketball team.
Perhaps most importantly, and at a young age, Courtney understood the significance of her athletic gifting and talents, and viewed them as gifts from God. She relished every opportunity to compete, and did so admirably. She was active in the praise dance ministries of Interdenomination of Faith, Leesville La: Christian House of Prayer, Copperas Cove, Tx; and Hope Aglow Empowerment Center, Woodbridge, Va. She had recently become a member of New Birth South Metropolitan Church (now Higher Living Christian Church), Morrow, Ga.
On June 25th, 2006 on their way back from North Augusta, South Carolina, and less than two hours after she and her AAU team, the (14U) Atlanta Lady Celtics had just won the championship in their age group at the Garden City Classic Tournament, Courtney and her mother, Meshal were involved in a fatalautomobile accident 80 miles east of Atlanta. Meshal would survive the accident, sustaining serious injuries from the crash including: (five hematomas to the head; right shoulder fracture; right arm, ribs and hand injury; three pelvic fractures; four lower back fractures; bladder injury; dislocated left hip and leg injury, and both knees crushed.) Courtney, however, was gone…gone at the age of 14!
The family has founded this organization to honor Courtney’s memory, legacy, and life, as well as to challenge, and encourage female student-athletes to strive for excellence in every area of their life. Courtney’s motto was to live life with passion and purpose, and to play each game, as if it was her last! Grant season opens annually from December 1st through February 28th, and an annual “Memorial” Tournament Fundraiser event is held the 3rd weekend in May.
As a 14-yr old, Courtney stood nearly 5’11”, wore a size 12 1/2 (women) shoe, and played the “3”, “4”, and “5” positions. She often slept with her teddy bear (Smokey) on one side, and her basketball on the other. She had aspirations of competing in the WNBA… by way of her beloved Duke Lady Blue Devils!
Courtney often asked her dad, “Why do the men make so much ‘more’ money than the women in professional basketball?” She never accepted any answer he gave, and vowed that one day she would “change-the-game!” Because of her vision and desire, through her Foundation…”SHE WILL!“
As I was driving and listening to music, I saw Courtney appear in my rear view mirror. She started asking me what I wanted as I turned my music off and acknowledged her. She asked, momma, you called me? I said Courtney I didn’t call you. She said momma, yes you did, I heard you through my headset. I again said, sweetie, I didn’t call you. She looked at me with this frustrated look on her face, removed her headset from her right ear and told me again: “Yes you did, I heard you. You said Courtney!, Courtney!, Courtney!” (Now understand, this had been a long seven-game winning weekend and Courtney was worn out. Prior to leaving the parking lot I tried to get her to sit up front with me but she told me she was so tired that all she wanted to do was put her headset on, stretch out in the backseat, listen to some music and sleep all the way home.) I looked at her in the mirror and tried to reassure her that I had not jokingly or playfully woken her up as I had done in the past. I told her to put her headset back on and I would wake her once we got into Atlanta. As she disappeared back behind my seat I could tell from the look in her eyes that she didn’t believe me. She was convinced that the voice she heard calling her was from my lips – but it wasn’t.
All of a sudden, the steering wheel of my 2004 SUV pulled to the right and locked in place. I tried and tried to pull it back but it wouldn’t budge. I said Lord, take care of Courtney, and I closed my eyes while turning my head to the left so I wouldn’t see us crash. I was immediately snatched up.
E. Meshal Crooms