The youngest of Bill and Marlyn Barnes' three children, Tracey went to her first basketball game—to watch the UNM Lobos—when she was 5, the same year she started reading. She took up the flute at 8 and the bassoon a few years later. She started running track when she was 10. At 11 she was lifting weights, and at 12 she finished sixth in a national pentathlon meet. "I always put a lot of pressure on myself," says Barnes, "even when I was little. I guess you could say I wanted to be perfect."
She chose to attend Eldorado High School, which was in another school district, because it had a wind ensemble. "It was like an honors orchestra," says Barnes. "At the time, I was thinking music, not sports." She played bassoon in the ensemble and flute, bass drum and cymbals in the marching band. She also ran track and played basketball, taking part in only two losing games in four seasons and leading Eldorado to the state championship in her sophomore and junior years. "We used to beat other teams by 80 points," she says.
She graduated from high school with a 4.37 GPA out of a possible 4.40. "I got one B-plus, in English," she says. "I'd been away for five days for the state basketball tournament, and the teacher gave an exam on a book we'd been reading. He wouldn't give me the time to catch up. I had to take that exam right then." She had to settle for salutatorian instead of valedictorian.
Barnes spent the next three years in various southwestern schools, going from the University of Arizona to UNM to New Mexico Junior College in. Hobbs, where she helped the team to a 16-8 record. NAU coach Dave Brown, who recruited her as a junior, was very impressed by her ability to work hard and play hard. "She was as self-motivated as any student I've had in 25 years of coaching," says Brown. "She was an exceedingly aggressive player. She played basketball like she studied—4.0."
And she learned the ways of the world. "There was one game," she says, "where a member of my team would not pass me the ball. I was scoring, and she couldn't take that. I talked to my dad after the game, and he said, 'That's real life. You've got to watch out for people like that, and you've got to stand up for yourself.' You learn things like that playing a team sport. The other side of the coin is learning to work together."
In her two years at NAU, the Lady Lumberjacks didn't exactly fell opponents. During her first year the team went 17-8, and Barnes averaged 5.8 points and 1.5 rebounds a game; this season the team was 11-14, with Barnes averaging 14 points and 5.54 rebounds.
During her playing career, Tracey saw Red only on weekends, when she could make the six-hour drive from NAU's Flagstaff campus to Albuquerque. "Sometimes I felt guilty putting him through that," she says. "I did a lot of second-guessing. Like, Is it worth maybe losing somebody so important to me to play a game? But he knewhow important basketball was to me." And Red eased her mind by telling her, "Don't worry about it. I'll be here for you."
And so he is. And so is the world after college hoops. "I'd like to start out working with juveniles," Barnes says of her plans for the future. "They're a lot more impressionable. And with sports so popular, I could be a role model for them. I could play one-on-one with them or teach them how to shoot. I want to be able to give them something they can do that will help them get out on their own."
Mount Union College
Scott Gindlesberger's eyes are dramatically blue. Bluer than the sky last week over Hilton Head, S.C., where he was vacationing with his parents and relatives. Bluer even than the gently lapping Atlantic. Let's be done with this. His eyes are Paul Newman blue, O.K.?