By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 2009 Millington Central High School graduate has seen the highs of her life on the basketball court documented. Then there were times family tragedies were reported.
From the 14-year-old standout guard who set the TSSAA all-time steals record to now the 28-year-old woman who is ready to share her devotion with the public that has been reading about her for more than a decade.
Saturday afternoon, the Millington product was joined by family and friends for her book signing “Beat the Lows.”
“Today we are having a book devotional signing here at Patriot
Bank,” McLaughlin said. “Mr. Larry Jackson is an awesome man. They reached out. I think they saw a Facebook post of the release of the devotional journal. They wanted to do this special signing for me.”
The devotional journal was released in April while McLaughlin attended to her duties as the Millington Municipal Schools counselor and Millington Middle School Track coach.
“It’s been a lot to say honestly,” she recalled. “I’m just thankful for organizational skills. Sometimes there are late nights. There are plenty of late nights.
“Once you finish your task that’s children, school and work, that type of environment, you just get home and get to it,” McLaughlin continued. “You make it happen, get it done.”
McLaughlin has been getting it done for years with success on the court. She helped the Millington Lady Trojans reach three straight Sub-States with an appearance in the 2008 Class 3A State Championship game.
That achievement came just months after losing her brother Orlandus. The big brother who encouraged her to start playing basketball became a driving force in McLaughlin’s motivation while winning National championships at Union University.
McLaughlin decided to come back home and give back to the children. She was ready to join forces with the community leaders who supported her a decade earlier. Now her book is the latest contribution to Millington.
“It was definitely something pressed upon my heart,” she said. “I wanted to share everything He wanted me to share with others.
“I really pray it helps and equips them to really find a way to fight for their freedom,” McLaughlin added. “It contains 21 scriptures that helped me overcome the low points of my life. I wanted to give others those scriptures and provide them with an opportunity to reflect on what those scriptures mean to them. Provide them with an opportunity to write out their prayers.”
McLaughlin said practicing your faith and exercising your beliefs helps in overcoming depression and pains of the soul.
“I really pray that people are moved to do the work, learn how to fight for their freedom,” she said. “And for me personally, my freedom was found in Christ. I want to share that with other people and give them a chance to fight.”
McLaughlin had a public platform to gain more attention to her book because of longtime fans.
“It brings tears to my eyes. Mr. Larry Jackson and Mr. Jack Leonard came through,” she noted. “Mr. Carey Parham came through. Mr. Bo Griffin and Ms. Beth Hale, all these people along with Mrs. Mandy Compton, I know have seen me throughout the years.
“It just blesses my life,” McLaughlin added. “I can truly say One Millington. That’s kind of our thing since Superintendent Mr. Bo has taken over. To me when I think about that it runs deeper.”
The list of names to help McLaughlin mature into a spiritually-driven woman is long including names like Constance Certion. Her normal support system of the Diggs family was right by her side again as McLaughlin reflected on how the game she loves helped her create new relationships.
“I didn’t know Mr. Larry Jackson until he sent out the email saying I want to do this for you,” she said.
“Then I realized when we started to talk that his daughter taught me in Kindergarten. I didn’t realize Mr. Larry Jackson was supporting Lady Trojan Basketball even when I didn’t know.
“This community is just amazing and I love my community,” she concluded. “Being I realize we are really a family and a community that get behind each other and support one another.”