NEW CASTLE —
Kim Bair Tindall knew when to flip the switch.
One moment, the 1996 Laurel High and 2001 Slippery Rock University graduate had a smile pasted on her face, but once the contest started, gritty determination became her look.
“She was such an intense player, but she always had a smile on her face,” said Terry Watters, who was Tindall’s basketball and track coach at Laurel. “We had a lot of good times, but when it came time to start playing, she got down to it.”
In a perfect world, Watters would have filled her squads with a bunch of athletes just like Tindall.
“She had such a pleasant attitude,” Watters said. “She always had a smile on her face. It was a joy to have her on my teams. You’d wish you could have a dozen kids just like her. She competed hard whether it was in practice or in a game or meet. She wanted to win. No matter what, she came out smiling.”
ENTERING THE HALL
Tindall, 36, will join 11 other inductees on May 4 when they enter the Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at the New Englander.
“I was really excited,” said Tindall, whose family includes her husband of nine years, D.J., and their two children, Shyan and Bryce. “I never expected it. This definitely was a surprise. I played sports, because I absolutely loved it. It was a passion of mine. When you’re playing sports, you don’t think about any of that stuff.”
Tindall wasn’t a big fan of volleyball when she entered Laurel High School as a freshman and didn’t join the team until the next year.
“I was anti-volleyball until my sophomore year until Patty Wigton kept asking me to come out and play,” the Slippery Rock Township resident said. “She was a substitute teacher at my school. She would ask whenever she saw me until I caved in and played.
“I had never played it and I thought it was really boring to watch, so I didn’t think it would be fun to play. It’s actually a very physical game and it’s very competitive. There’s a lot to learn to be a successful player. It was a challenge, but I ended up loving it.”
She quickly picked up the nuances of the sport and became a first-team all-section selection as a junior and senior.
For her career, Tindall finished with 291 points, 87 aces, 125 kills and 81 digs while playing for Wigton and Greg Dugan.
“I actually surprised myself,” she said. “I picked up all the aspects of the game faster than I thought. Starting to play as a sophomore, I thought I’d be further behind the other girls.”
Oddly enough, Tindall has continued to play as an adult, winning several indoor or sand volleyball tournaments in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Tindall typically teams up with fellow Laurel graduate Rhonda Kelliher Jones for sand volleyball tournaments.
“It’s the sport that I’ve continued to play, because there’s an opportunity to do so,” she said. “We’ve won a couple tournaments.”