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Higher Calling

Published on April 17, 2014

Sarah Rennicke

Brooke Pighin has a Type A personality.

Vibrant, tenacious, stepping up to a challenge and launching herself into a project until it is done, and done well, she moves at 100 miles per hour and attacks life with a no-nonsense attitude.

Brooke Pighin, Team Canada Track and Field.
Brooke Pighin, Team Canada Track and Field.

The Canadian-born University of Washington graduate has made a name for herself in track and field, punching out numerous awards and records throwing the javelin, and now focuses her passion and energy on Team Canada, looking for an Olympic berth in 2016.

“You give her a task and she’s going to go get it done. She’s going to do everything in her to get it rolling and be successful,” Jonathan Rainey, FCA’s Seattle college ministry representative, said. “She had that mentality for FCA and really knew the impact it could have on the rest of the athletic program, and I knew she wanted to see the impact and change of University of Washington athletics on the spiritual side.”

Above all her earthly accolades and ‘go get ‘em’ mentality is Pighin’s desire to motivate others.

An active child, Pighin played as many sports as she could. But life stalled unexpectedly at age 11. While on a ski vacation with her family at Mount Washington on Vancouver Island, Pighin slammed into a tree and immediately slipped unconscious, perplexing doctors who couldn’t discover what was holding her under. When Pighin woke up a week later, her family was told she may not walk, talk or eat on her own again, and recovery could be at least a year. But on the 11th day at the hospital, she miraculously walked out the doors and went home.

“The doctors, to this day, have still never been able to explain it,” Pighin mused. “I’ve read the reports over and over and there’s just a lot of confusion as to what happened.

“My cousin’s friend made a webpage that people could go on and check my status and see how I was doing, and there was a page for prayer wishes. There were people literally from all around the world sending prayer requests- people who didn’t even know who I was. That was really cool and encouraging to see the power of prayer- I walked away from it. No explanation as to why.”

Pighin while competing for the University of Washington.
Pighin while competing for the University of Washington.

Sidelined from sports, Pighin spent time at her brother’s games race walking and throwing a javelin to keep active, the only two activities her parents allowed participation at the time. Already gifted with a natural ability to throw, she entered competitions and soared up the national standings.

In 2004, at age 14, Pighin won the Canadian Junior National Championships. She recognized a new door of opportunity cracking open. “God has called me to be an athlete, and that’s what I really feel I am supposed to do right now. I’ve always wanted to be a professional athlete, and my ability is for a reason, whether it’s to take me to be a bigger motivational speaker or just to inspire a couple people in the town where I came from. I really believe that’s what competing for Christ is- trying to fulfill what you feel God has called you to do.”

Pighin found herself at the University of Washington for her sophomore year in college, where she made a strong impact on the Husky track and field team, as well as becoming an integral part in forming a campus FCA Huddle.

“My third year we started FCA on campus because there wasn’t really anything for athletes then. To see the seeds you sow, to see the harvest of them, is really cool because it was a lot of groundwork for a little while. We were very blessed to have it take off.”

Her zest for life catches fire as Pighin sees a need for miracles and belief.

“Some people are afraid to dream and that breaks my heart. They’ve been let down or something has happened that has made them afraid, so any conversation I have with people, I hope they leave encouraged and inspired to not give up and strive for more.”

“I really believe that God has so much more for us than we could ever imagine,” she added. “If He knows how many hairs are on our head, I would think that He has so much more for us than what we humanly see.”

Rainey predicts bright skies ahead for Pighin. “She is going to be somebody who, when something great happens, her name will be attached to it and you won’t be surprised. It will be neat to see in 20 years what she’s accomplished with her life. I think she’s only scratched the surface of what she’s going to do and how she’s going to impact people.”

She does, after all, know her higher calling.