We played Australia yesterday, we won 9-2. It was a big victory for us as we are collecting wins for the top seed in our pool. We were happy to make it to our game on time... our bus suddenly was lost for about 20min. We made it and with plenty of warm up time. Our bus driver put the pedal to the metal! Tasha was in a braced position the entire ride. We were laughing so hard as we were weaving in and out and around corners to the game. Laughing a little scared, but enjoying the entertaining ride! We have been traveling VIP style here. We have a group of motorcycle officers that stop and hold traffic everywhere we go along with military escorts. Needless to say we get where we are going fast and without stopping. We all definitely could get used to this, especially our LA girls! ;)
After our game we came back to the hotel and got ready for our quest outside of our hotel! We have only seen the hotel and softball fields while we have been here. We were excited to head out and eat some authentic Venezuelan food! It was a Venezuelan Folkloric (llanero style, cowboy style) restaurant, it was beautiful! We had traditional food from the Central Plains of Brainas, Apure in Venezuela. We enjoyed Casabe made out of yuca (it was like a potato chip sort of) with Morcilla (blood sausage) topped with cheese, tomatoes, and avocados as an appetizer. Next we had Tequenos, fried cheese wrapped in yuca and corn dough and of course some arepas! We had Tostones, salted fried plantains... so very good! We started with a gorgeous salad with hearts of palms, avocados, 4 different kinds of lettuce, corn, tomotoes, cucumbers topped with a mayo based dressing ... it was amazing! For our entrees we chose, steak, chicken, or a local white fish! I picked the right seat and was able to try all three. The fish being my favorite. For our sides they served papas fritas (french fries), fried yuca and boiled yuca topped with cilantro. The yuca was my favorite and I enjoyed it served both ways. Its a root with a texture like a sweet potato, I highly recommend it! And of course we never forget dessert, us USA girls love dessert! ;) We had the smoothest most delicious bocado del cielo, translated it means a slice from heaven. Amazing! It was a rich flan served on toasted coconut, usually covered in Baileys, we got the non alcoholic version. Indeed it was a slice from heaven! We had a fun team dinner with our whole crew and enjoyed doing it Venezuelan style! Very tasty!!! Thank You Venezuela!
Today we played the Dominican Republic, we won 10-1. We have our last game of pool play tomorrow against the Czech Republic @ 3pm. Wednesday we will start the medal rounds!
We've had a great couple of days here competing for the 2010 World Championships. We started out yesterday with 2 big wins! Our first was against New Zealand, Eileen Canney picked up her first USA victory on the mound! We came back to the hotel and refueled for our game versus the home team of Venezuela. WOW! Oh my goodness it was packed! Crazy!!! The loudest crowd by far we have ever played in front of. It was loud the minute the Venezuelan team stepped on the field. The horns, whistles, chants, waves, and more never once stopped! There was over 7,000 fans in attendance! It was such an amazing feeling taking the field. We could not even hear one another out there on the field. Our non verbal communication skills were a necessity. We pulled out our second victory of the day! A fun one indeed, it will go down in the books!
The Venezuelan team are Rock Stars here... literally! They have a song written for them and even are in the music video! The song is awesome, hopefully we can hook you up with the link for you to hear yourself. We have been rocking out to it non stop. It is so much fun to see, experience, and to feel the love the Venezuelans have for their team. They too have been very gracious and welcoming to us, we are very grateful for the hospitality here! It makes me so excited knowing we will be in Oklahoma City in a few weeks on our home soil for World Cup!!! U-S-A!!!!!!! ;)
Today we played Botswana, we won 20-0. It is their first time qualifying for World's, it proves our sports growth all over the World. It has been so fun seeing them compete and getting the chance to have this experience. After the game they were so very sweet. They were telling us, "One Day, One Day, we will be that good." It made my heart melt... so many lives all over the world have been positively impacted by softball and sports alone! Its so incredible to see the opportunity for women on all continents. We will be leaving our equipment with them and others to help them in their pursuit of sharing and growing this game all over the World!
Yes, we are here to Win... Always! But there is SO much more to it than just winning! We are on our pursuit and mission for both. Enjoying the beautiful country and people of Venezuela, competing one day, one game at a time til the end of our quest and more quests to come. ...On & Off the field!
On a side note it was Lauren Lappin's Birthday today and we had a great celebration for her put on by our sweet hosts! We have the best local Venezuelan crew to help assist us! They are awesome... how awesome? Well let me just tell you this... Opening Ceremonies night our Bus Driver was hit by one of the Fireworks. Yes, hit by one... it was scary! Thank God he is OK and healing... but he didn't even take a day off. He is still driving us and will be til the end! Greeting us everyday with the sweetest smile on crutches with his poor bandaged up foot. Our friends we have made here have been fabulous and have made our stay so wonderful! They brought Lauren the most beautiful bouquet of flowers, a cake, and even sang to her. It was very very sweet!
Next up the Aussies tomorrow at 1pm!
I will tell you what Ace told me tonight on the phone, "Sweet Dreams!"
Today we had a big win against China, we won 1-0! It felt good getting our uni's on and competing! Venezuela has really created an Olympic style atmosphere in Caracas! The stadium is gorgeous and the stands were full of people. Cat pitched a great game for us on the mound. Ashley Hansen started us off getting on base and stealing 2nd in the top of the 7th. Lappin moved her to third on a ground ball to 2nd and Tasha came up HUGE with a line shot the pitcher barely tipped with her glove to score Hansen! It was the lone run we needed! It was a great game. Lots of action on defense, I played 1st base. It felt good to get the games started and good to get our juices flowing! The crowd was nonstop with cheers, noise makers, and lots of horns. We are so grateful for all of the support here in Caracas!
You can follow the games @ USASoftball.org! There will be live stats and updates throughout World Championships! Lots of pictures are posted too!
Tonight we are resting up getting ready for our two games tomorrow. We play New Zealand at 11am and then come back to play the home team Venezuela at 7pm! We are expecting lots of people and lots of noise for the Venezuelan game!
The food here has been delicious! Lots of fresh vegetables, chicken, salad, fresh fruit, and of course great desserts! We are enjoying the delish coffee here too! Yesterday we had Watermelon juice with lunch that was quite tasty.
WOW! What a night! We just got back from opening ceremonies here in Venezuela! All I can say is WOW! It was a spectacular show! The stadium is beautiful its surrounded by the gorgeous green mountains here. It was packed with excited prideful anxious Venezuelans! It was so awesome to see the excitement and pride they have here for their country. The show was filled with body moving music, lots of dancers, performers, skits, the biggest fireworks show I have ever seen, and it ended with President Chavez closing it with a speech. We were given some rockin' hats to wear too!
It was a spectacular show they had a group of dancers to represent each of the 16 Countries here at the World Championships. They had dancers dressed in the appropriate attire and they danced to the music of that country. It was incredibly amazing to watch!
The highlight of the night for me was us each able to walk out on the field with a young Venezuelan child. My little buddy was 5 years old and he had the cutest smile. He melted my heart along with filling it with pure joy as I miss Ace dearly! We hit it off instantly, especially after I pulled out my phone and let him play all of the games I have for Ace on it. It was too cute! It blew my mind too as soon as Mr. Chavez started speaking he looked up from the game, made eye contact with me and said, "Chavez!" We had a lot of fun watching the firework show from the field together. He was a sweet little boy and we manage to hold a great conversation through the language barrier. It was a special night... I feel so incredibly blessed to have this great opportunity. It definitely was a reminder why playing USA Softball is what it is... A Dream! So many cultures and people from all over the World have been united by our great sport of softball!
We had practice this morning before opening ceremonies. We were thrilled to be able to get it in before the rain. We open up against China tomorrow at 12:30pm. Let the Games Begin!
Hola amigos from Caracas, Venezuela! We are here for World Championships with USA Softball! We landed last night to a warm welcome here in South America! Welcomed with beautiful music, flags, chocolate, lots of smiling faces, and a warm delicious meal of grilled chicken, rice, & plantains! We had an easy drive to the hotel with a police escort and VIP treatment. We are very excited to be here and to start competing.
World Championships now (since the Olympics dropped Softball) is the only event every four years in which the entire world competes. This is our big event. There is 16 teams here competing. We start our games on Thursday we open up against China.
These last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic! The season has begun! We had a wonderful JFSCamp in Colorado Springs over Memorial Day. It was a great group and we had a blast! We even had the wonderful honor of having a camper come all the way from Austrailia! It was a fun weekend all around! Thank You to Widefield High School for hosting such a terrific camp & weekend!
After the weekend we got the exciting news that Casey was called up to the Astros! We are so very proud of him and all he has been through. He has worked so hard and continues to grind it out, knowing the Lord has a special plan for him wherever that may be. I can not put into words his tenacity and drive. I am so proud of him and all he has endured throughout his career. It was so good to see him make it back to the "Bigs"! It's so much fun seeing him out there doing what he loves! He is an Ace for sure no matter where he is! ;)
I was able to sneak up to San Fran for a Giants game and Softball/Olympic Day Celebration they put on. ...And even bobbleheads! ;) I was honored to share the night with a courageous special girl & friend named Cassidy who is battling cancer. We had such an incredible time together with her sweet family! Big thanks to the SF Giants for all the special treats!
The NPF (Nat'l Pro Fastpitch) Season ProFastpitch.com has begun! We opened up against the USSSA Pride for a tough series in Lubbock, TX. We ended up taking the close series 3-2, it was so much fun being back in a Bandits uni with my teammates! We have a great group of girls and I am looking forward to competing with them the rest of this summer!
From Lubbock we headed to Ohio for a couple of days of training & preparing for World Championships. Nothing greater than wearing the red, white, & blue! We played the USA Futures team in a couple of good double headers. Lots of talent and great competition! Even had a special visit from a dear friend and inspiration Emily! She is purely amazing! She too is battling cancer & doing it with so much fight & grace!
Emily and Cassidy remind us all to live in the moment and never take anything for granted. They are true heroes & inspirations to us all! I am so blessed to know them & be forever changed because of them! Each breath is a gift from above! Keep fighting girls! We are cheering for you!
I will try to be blogging while we are here in Venezuela. Selfishly too, it helps me keep busy while I am away from my Aces for 14 days.
Loving this time with our team trying to soak it all up as our days of competing are unfortunately numbered! Living a dream, playing USA!
We had such a blast just almost 2 weeks ago kicking off our first JF Sofball Camp in Spring, TX! I was so excited to get back out on the field and share the game with so many anxious softballers. It was about time... Spring Sting was our host and they did such a great job, we truly enjoyed getting to know them and sharing the weekend with them! San Jacinto JC, did such a fantastic job assisting us. They brought their "A" Game, they had so much energy & fun out there. It was way over due seeing our, beyond "Fab" Coaches too! This is the best part about what I do is getting on the field sharing the passion and love for this great game with others. We not only share fundamentals of the game but more importantly life lessons way beyond the field.
We had a blast of a weekend with each other! We started out at a Charity Dinner for the Houston Children's Hospital on Friday. Here we are below getting our picture with Nolan Ryan! It was fun getting to dress Toni & Mac up in my clothes for the night... not so much fun for them! ;) It was a fun night for a great cause with some incredible people in attendance. We were honored to have my handsome nephew Brock as our date for the night too.
We look forward to heading over to Ardmore, OK this weekend for another camp! Can't wait to present Healdton Softball with their State Trophy to kick off camp! We are praying for the tornado victims and all of the mid west as the upcoming weather rolls in as they are on our hearts.
Our last camp of the 2010 spring will be Memorial Day weekend May 29 & 30 in Colorado Springs. Register today, http://jenniefinch.net/camps/CO2010.pdfWe hope to see you there! We will be opening up our registrations for our Fall 2010 Camps during the summer, keep checking the website!