Competing as a world-class hurdler has taken Ginnie Crawford to some of the most spectacular cities around the globe. And of them all, one still stands alone, occupying a special place in her heart.
“People who are from Seattle — and I see this a lot on Facebook and Twitter,” she explained, “they rep it hard.”
Ginnie, like both of her parents, was born in the Emerald City, spending her early years in the Rainier Beach neighborhood before moving 10 minutes away to Lakeridge.
Her earliest memories, like those of many of the city’s residents, involved being outside. Lake Washington was a popular destination.
“We were always at the lake,” she said. “That’s one of my favorite things about Seattle, Lake Washington — just being out there on the lake on a boat. We now have some jet skis so we like to go jet skiing out there now.”
Ginnie’s street was packed with children, and they kept her busy.
“We always were out in the neighborhood,” she said, “playing with my brother and his friends, playing flag football, basketball. We were always racing. Riding bikes. And when it snowed we would sled down the hill with our inner tubes.”
It was playing sports that introduced Ginnie to one of her closest, lifelong friends.
“I started running with Rainier Beach Community Center,” she recalled. “It had things like basketball and track that you could sign up for. Nate was at the track practice.”
Ginnie’s Nate was Nate Robinson of future NBA fame. The two spent nearly every spring and summer together, first running track for the community center, then graduating with a number of their friends to a traveling club squad. They would eventually attend the same high school, too.
She remembered Robinson as a young boy bursting with energy.
“He was very hyper, all over the place, always doing backflips everywhere,” Ginnie said, laughing. “He was always super athletic. The way he can jump now and dunk — he’s always been that way.”
According to Ginnie, Robinson’s character has remained a constant as well.
“No matter how much fame he’s gotten and where he’s at in life,” she said, “and this isn’t just what I say about him, a lot of people say this about him, he always has remained the same person. He’s always silly, joking, laughing, being loud. He’s always very positive. He’s very charismatic. He’s always been supportive of me and track, and the things that I do.”
“He’s always been the same Nate, no matter what.”
A LOVE FOR THE CITY
Like Robinson, Ginnie admires Seattle for its consistency and reliability. According to Ginnie, the city has an underdog quality that she can relate to.
Ginnie’s Top Five Seattle Eateries
“They have fried catfish/soul food. It’s a place where I grew up eating.”
“I like Joey’s. They have everything, and they’re the place to go at night. My favorite is their sliders. I feel like they’re one of a kind.”
“Everybody loves Taco Time. I love their tater-tots the most. I eat there every time I go home.”
“That’s my favorite. Their French toast is the best French toast I’ve ever had.”
“It’s on the water. They have a really, really nice brunch. It’s amazing.”
“We have a lot of things — Microsoft, Boeing — that put Seattle on the map,” she said. We have great things going there. It’s a great place to live. There are great job opportunities. We’ve got a great school up there in UDub [the University of Washington]. There’s a lot of great talent that comes out of there.”
“People always underestimate us.”
Unlike some of its more high-profile counterparts, Seattle also delivers what Ginnie sees as the perfect mix of the metropolitan and the familiar.
“Seattle’s a decent-sized city, but it’s still like everybody knows everybody,” she explained. “So you’re not just another number there. It just feels like it’s more connected.”
That’s especially the case, Ginnie said, when the sun makes an appearance.
“In the summertime, because we don’t get a lot of sun, everybody’s out. Everybody’s out at these events: people you went to high school with, people you went to elementary school with, family, and so on. It has a family vibe there.”
Ironically, it’s Seattle’s most well-known cosmetological phenomenon that Ginnie loves most: Rain.
“I’ve lived in Southern California since 2002,” she said, “and when it rains down here, I don’t mind it. It always makes me happy because it reminds me of home.”