Hoopfest court monitor returns post-stroke

Hoopfest court monitor returns post-stroke

Friends said she is tough as nails. Basketball players try to avoid getting her attention. It’s easy for all to agree that Mary Kay Poppe takes her job pretty seriously.

“I love it,” Poppe said. “I just love it.”

Poppe has been officiating Hoopfest games for seven years. However, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to do it this year after an incident last August.

“We had just got back from Hawaii and two days after I suffered a stroke,” Poppe said.

Poppe said the stroke has caused a couple complications.

“My speech isn’t quite up to par and my hand isn’t quite up to par.”

It hasn’t been enough to keep her off the court. On Sunday, Poppe was back in action officiating the Woman’s Elite Finals on Nike Center Court.

“That’s what Hoopfest spirit is all about,” Poppe’s friend Keith Currie said.

While she momentarily thought she wouldn’t be able to officiate, Currie had no doubt.

“I’ve been looking forward to this weekend because I knew she would be on the elite women’s court where she belongs,” Currie said.

Poppe cites her family, friends and community for being able to continue the tradition. She said she still has a little more recovery to go, but she’ll definitely be back for more Hoopfest action next year.

“It’s just a great community event and great for downtown,” Poppe said.