Brindi Griffin grew up watching her older sister play lacrosse at South River High then the University of Maryland. They also spent a lot of time together playing catch in the backyard or working on shooting at various practice fields near their Edgewater home.
So it makes sense that Brindi would mimic some of the moves and mannerisms she saw in Brooke Griffin, who was a two-time All-American for the Terrapins.
"Brooke would always practice with me and teach me things and I learned so much just by going to her games and studying what she did out on the field," Brindi said.
Brindi Griffin has followed in her older sister's footsteps by playing women's lacrosse at Maryland and is starting on attack this season. Like Brooke did from 2012 through 2015, Brindi primarily operates behind the goal on the left side (when looking toward the end line).
"I would say that Brooke and Brindi are very similar in terms of playing style," Maryland head coach Cathy Reese admitted. "They are both excellent feeders with the athletic ability to get to the cage and score goals."
Gene "Skip" Griffin is enjoying his second go-round of having a daughter play big-time college lacrosse for the perennial powerhouse Terps. He readily agrees that Brindi is like a mirror image of Brooke.
"I think the resemblance is uncanny. Just the way they run and handle the stick and shoot is almost identical. They are both very fluent going right or left and have a lot of the same moves," Skip Griffin said. "A lot of people have told me that when they watch Brindi play it reminds them of Brooke."
One of those people is the older sister herself: "I think Brindi and I are very similar. I feel like I am watching myself out there," Brooke said.
Brooke Griffin was one of the greatest athletes in Anne Arundel County history, excelling in field hockey, lacrosse and swimming. She was named Player of the Year for both field hockey and lacrosse twice each by Capital-Gazette Newspapers and is one of only three individuals to repeat as Female Athlete of the Year (2009, 2010).
Griffin earned first team All-Metro honors from both The Baltimore Sun and Washington Post three times in lacrosse and twice in field hockey. She was an Under Armour All-American in lacrosse.
After sitting out the entire 2011 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Griffin became a four-year starter on attack at Maryland and earned first team All-American honors as both a junior and senior. She was the 2015 Big Ten Attack Player of the Year and still ranks seventh all-time at Maryland with 198 goals and 279 points.
FOLLOWING HER OWN PATH
Brindi Griffin pursued the same three sports as her older sister, albeit at a different school after being recruited to perennial powerhouse McDonogh for lacrosse. That connection occurred because she played club ball for the M&D program, which was directed by former McDonogh head coach Chris Robinson.
Brindi was an integral member of IAAM A Conference championship teams in all three sports. She was named all-conference four times in lacrosse and twice each in field hockey and swimming. She served as a team captain for hockey, lacrosse and swimming.
Brindi matched her older sister by being named an Under Armour All-American and bested Brooke by being ranked the No. 4 recruit in the Class of 2016. Brindi was named to the United States Under-19 squad that competed against an international field in Scotland one year before Brooke represented the U.S. at the Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup.
Brooke Griffin played midfield throughout high school, but was moved to attack at Maryland. Brindi Griffin played midfield up until high school before switching to attack at McDonogh.
"It is rather remarkable when you think of all the similarities between the two of them," Skip Griffin said of Brooke and Brindi, who are 26 and 20 years old, respectively.
Brindi is the youngest of four daughters as Brooke has a twin in Brianna while Brittany is the oldest. "I loved being the baby and having three older sisters as role models. They were always looking after me," Brindi said.
While Brindi learned a lot of the fundamentals about lacrosse from Brooke, perhaps the most important thing she picked up involved the intangibles.
"When I was in middle school and Brooke was in high school I always watched her play and saw how hard she competed. As a younger player, you don't know how much you have to practice and how much you have to really want it," Brindi said. "Seeing Brooke play wall ball all the time and working out all the time made me understand what it takes to play at that level."
Brooke Griffin just completed her first season as a volunteer assistant coach with the Towson University women's lacrosse program after spending two years on the staff at Boston College. She is a member of the Baltimore Brave of the fledgling Women's Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL), which makes its debut this summer.
A big reason why Brooke Griffin left Boston College to come back home was because she wanted to see Brindi play as often as possible.
"I'm so proud of the way Brindi has developed and I'm happy she took her own path to Maryland," Brooke said. "I know it was hard to follow me because we played the same position, but Brindi has kind of blazed her own trail."
Brindi Griffin was a big part of the incredible McDonogh winning streak, which reached 198 games before coming to an end earlier this month. Brindi, who never lost a game in high school, was named All-Metro by The Sun as both a junior and senior.
"Brindi has been around Maryland games for as long as I can remember, ever since she was a little peanut," Coach Reese said. "We didn't recruit Brindi because she was Brooke Griffin's little sister. It was because she was one of the best players in the nation and I needed her to be at Maryland."
"ALL ABOUT MARYLAND"
Truth be told, there was never really any doubt that Brindi would wind up in College Park. Skip and Jodi Griffin both graduated from Maryland while their three older daughters did as well. Brindi was not about to buck the family tradition.
"Our family is all about Maryland. My mom worked at Maryland and we grew up going to Maryland games in all the sports," Brooke said.
Brindi Griffin appeared in all 23 games as a backup attacker as a freshman, scoring 17 goals and adding six assists. She showed great potential by notching hat tricks against Florida and Michigan despite limited playing time.
Maryland graduated a starting attacker in Caroline Wannen and there was fierce competition to replace her. Brindi won the battle and has blossomed as a sophomore, scoring 21 goals and dishing off 20 assists.
"This season, Brindi has stepped into more of a leadership role on the offensive end and it's been fun to watch her gain confidence as the season has gone along," Reese said. "Brindi always has a smile on her face because she loves the sport of lacrosse and loves to compete."
Being a first-year starter brings added pressure, but playing alongside such talented offensive players as Meg Whittle (98 points), Caroline Steele (78) and Jen Giles (77) has made the transition easier for Griffin.
"I love standing behind the goal and feeding the ball. I have total trust when throwing the ball into traffic because we have so many players with amazing stick skills," Griffin said. "If I see Kali (Hartshorn) cutting I know I can pass the ball inside and she will come up with it. When Steele comes around with her left hand I am so confident that I can throw her the ball and she is going to catch and finish."
Griffin was right in the middle of Maryland's impressive 8-1 run during the first half of last Saturday's quarterfinal victory over Navy. She was assertive in driving from behind while dishing off two assists and scoring a goal during that stretch.
"I've been on Brindi a little bit because I think sometimes this season she has sat back and has wanted to be the organizer. I told Brindi that I needed her to get aggressive. I want to see her create instead of just sitting back being the quarterback," Reese said. "Brindi has the green light to go at any time. She has shown the ability to beat a defender and get to the front of the net. It's just a matter of having the confidence to attack."
Brooke Griffin understands the naturally unselfish style of her sister because it mimics her own.
"Brindi is such a selfless player. She would much rather pass the ball to Meg Whittle or Caroline Steele than go to goal herself," Brooke said. "It takes time to find your way at the college level, which I learned as a young player at Maryland. Brindi has a lot of room to grow and will become more of a goal-scorer as she gains experience and confidence."
Brooke Griffin spoke to The Capital while driving to College Park on Tuesday night to get in some shooting pracice with her sister. She believes Brindi is poised for a big weekend as Maryland heads to the national semifinals, being hosted by Stony Brook on Long Island.
"I think Brindi could be the X factor of the Final Four. She is so talented and just ready to explode at any time," Brooke said.
Brooke Griffin was a key member of Maryland's 2014 and 2015 national championship teams. Brindi Griffin has a chance to match that number in just her second season as the Terps are looking to defend their NCAA title.
Skip Griffin played lacrosse at Arundel High under legendary head coach Clint Gosnell while his wife was also a fine athlete, starring in softball. It is no surprise they produced four extremely athletic children, although Skip jokes about raising tomboys.
Brindi Griffin was only 10 years old when her mother died of breast cancer at the age of 45.
"Having three older sisters was so huge after losing my mom. In their own little ways, they all stepped up to take on that role for me," Brindi said. "My family has always been really close and what happened with my mom brought us even closer together."
For Brindi and Brooke Griffin, athletics was a way to escape from the realities of the situation involving their mother, who battled for two years before succumbing in October, 2008.
"Lacrosse is how Brooke and I were able to cope with it a lot. It was a positive outlet that we could focus on and something Brooke and I could bond over," Brindi said.
Skip Griffin, a civilian worker at Fort Meade, suddenly became a single parent and was determined to be there for all four his daughters. He logged a lot of miles driving up the Baltimore Beltway for all of Brindi's athletic events while somehow never missing any of Brooke's lacrosse games at Maryland.
"My dad is absolutely amazing. He would be there sitting on the hill at McDonogh before we even came out for warmups. He did not miss a single thing," Brindi said. "We are all so thankful to have him. My dad is the absolute rock of our family."
Skip Griffin has attended the Final Four at Stony Brook before as that is where it was played when Maryland went during Brooke's freshman and sophomore seasons. The Terps came up short those two years and he is certainly hoping for a different outcome this time around.
"I really enjoy sports so I have loved watching Brooke and Brindi play at Maryland," Skip said. "I try to take in every minute because the next thing you know they are done and you cannot get that time back."