Friday, July 25, 2008

Olympic Send Off at The White House

What a week we've had! Travel has been a little crazy this last week. We started in Springfield Missouri went to Connecticut then to Ohio to play, then bused to Virgina and now headed out west to Irvine Ca.

The highlight of this week was a trip in between Conn and Ohio to the White House. The President invited 10 Olympians and 10 Para Olympians to his home for an Olympic Send Off. We were thrilled, even though it meant a night with no sleep to make it in time! Andrea Duran, Caitlin Lowe, and I went on behalf of USA Softball. We went straight from the plane to the Rose Garden for the Press Conference. I was given the honor to present The President an Official Softball Olympic Jersey! After the Press Conference Bush invited us all in the Oval Office, we were quite excited! Standing thinking of all the many great who have been in here, the many historical figures and decisions that have been made right in that very room was a bit overwhelming! We were excited enough just to go to the White House and then to top it off to get to go into the Oval Office. The President told us insight and history about the desk and how he designed with the first lady the rug that lies. He was so very personable, posed with us all for an individual shot, asking us questions about our sport and what we do! We have all been to the White House with our college teams but this time it was extra special! It was very intimate! The President let us know how excited he is for us and how excited he is to go over and cheer us all on in Beijing! After this we were able to catch a few hours of sleep before the Formal Dinner! It gets better!

To start the night we headed over to get in line for our pictures with The President and the First Lady. They were "golden" looking polished in of course gold! We each were able to take a photo with them, after the photo The President let me know I was at his table for dinner. What an honor... the night just got better filled with more excitement and nerves! We walked into the room filled with great past Olympians, NBC Analyst, Olympians, Para Olympians, CEO's, IOC members, USOC staff and much more. I was so completely in awe having the opportunity to not only sit at the table but right next to Mr. Bush himself. On the other side was one of my heroes Jackie Joyner Kersee. It kept getting better! It was a blast. The President put us at ease grabbing some roasted nuts casually and opening up conversation. From Ace, to Dot Richardson, to Kerri Walsh who was also at the table (shes incredibly sweet), to African American history, to China, and much more. He even pulled out a Sharpie and started signing the menu cards and passed them around for us all to sign. A great souvenier! It was a very special night and it definitely got us even more fired up about heading over to China... its coming! Finally, its coming! The excitement just continues to build! After a dinner filled with incredible company, delicious sea bass, and a lovely dessert topped with the Olympic Torch we headed back out to the Rose Garden for some Blue Grass! What a night! Dre, Cait, and I left in awe and a bit giddy about the day we just had! The only bummer was all 15 couldn't be there to share in the fun! Hopefully after we can all celebrate once again at the White House!

From the White House back to Ohio for a good game against the NPF Akron Racers! The crowd was incredible! To Virginia to California for our last stop! It was nice to finish at home in So Cal. We all had tons of family! I was so happy and delighted to see over 20 family members from all over the world come out to send us off! My cousin and his wife came from Germany! It was a great few days... too short but its back to business preparing, training, resting, for the trip! The trip we've been waiting for all our lives! The Olympics are here!

We head out to San Jose to process on the 2nd then we are heading over on the 4th! We can't wait to get to China unpack and prepare for battle!


Anonymous said...

that just had to be fun!!!going to the white house and meeting the president of the USA.u even got show the oval office and sat by him at the table!!hope u had a great time there and at china!! I'll keep praying for u and the team for a safe trip. God bless

Brianna said...

what an awesome opportunity. love you jen!!!

BanditSoftball said...

wow! you have done some amazing things over the last few months. i
just wanted to wish you and the entire team all the best over in beijing. please stay safe and bring home the gold!!

Sheri S.

Susannahjb said...

Sounds really exciting. Glad you all got to go. Cool watching ya'll in Salem, Va. I finally got your autograph. Can't wait for Beijing. Keep us updated!

P.S. I really enjoyed your interview for the 700 Club on CBN. You're awesome!

Erin said...

Hey Jenni, I just wanted to comment that I too was in the Rose Garden at the White House and got to see you all! I was one of the lucky ones who were invited to the press conference. Although I was bummed that I didn't have a chance to meet you!