Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Olympic Journey

Well as you can see its took me a while to face the computer and start reading and writing. First, I want to send out a heartfelt thanks from deep inside me to all our gracious and supportive fans! Thank you for all your unconditional love and support! We are so very blessed!

I'm with my family now!!! My heart is elated with joy to be reunited! Oh, if you would of seen me bawling all the way out of the airplane to them. Knowing my little and big guy were standing out there. I was a mess, I couldn't hold it together. It truly was the longest trip of my life getting home. I think I was race walking an Olympic Record in a bee line to the door! There he was, grinning from ear to ear running towards me with a bouquet of flowers bigger than him, in a shirt that said Mommy, with a heart around it. Awe, you could see his joy beaming outside of him to have me back. For five minutes I just held him, staring into his incredible blue eyes, and he just kept staring back in disbelief that I was actually home. He kept touching my face as I was melting! For myself I just continued to bawl like a 2 year old myself. I can not express how happy I was to be back and have my husband and son surrounding me! Knowing my next trips are a ways away and we are in our off season is a feeling we have looked forward to all year. Its what kept us going and able to go through this past year a part. Ace is talking so much more, reciting us like a little parrot. He is filling out, getting thicker and bigger. I'm still in awe and so incredibly happy to be home. As soon as I put him down he grabbed my hand and shouted, "Come on Mommy!" Its what I had been waiting to hear!

Its time to talk about the game, I will try to be brief as it still hurts. It's why we play the game, there is a chance involved. It wouldn't be any fun if there wasn't a chance to win or lose. Yes, we love it as you very well know and please don't take this the wrong way. Someone has to win and lose. It was Japan's day, we have to tip our hat to Team Japan and Ueno who had a performance of a lifetime over those last few days. Coach always says it does take a little luck to win championships and on any given day anyone can win. This is why we trained so hard and sacrificed so much we knew the difficulty. We are very proud of our team and who we are. We will always hold our heads up high and be very proud and honored to be able to have the opportunity to wear USA across our chests and because we are the people we are.

Leaving to the field I prayed, Lord let Your will be done. I have given all I have, my trust is in You, may Your will be done. This is win or lose, pitching, or not pitching, what ever color medal. I've been asked a lot why weren't you in there? My answer is it was Coach's decision and he made the best one he could. Yes, as a fierce competitor you always want the ball in your hands, I was dying to get in and was as ready as I could been to be in there. As a team player first, I will continue to back Coach and we as a pitching staff Cat and Monica. We have complete faith in one another and we will stand together as one.

Its hard, yes no doubt. Does it still hurt yes, I'm sure it will for a long time. People keep telling me how I am the face of USA Softball and I've done so much for the game, which I truly appreciate and am very very grateful for but its still hard for me to swallow the loss. It doesn't make losing any easier. I don't want to be known for that, at least not yet. I train to be an athlete not a face. I have dedicated part of my life to be the best pitcher I could be because I love to compete. I am best when I am competing not posing for pictures or on the red carpet or in the board room. I'm a competitor. I am grateful for all I've been able to do, I would've and could never dreamed of it all! I'm just a girl that loves to compete and have the ball in my hands. I love the challenge of facing hitters! I've never tried or trained or even thought about being the face of USA softball just being the best pitcher I could be.

Ultimately what brings me peace is knowing that it was the Lord's will. It's all part of His plan. The Big Man up stairs already knows and has already written His plan. All we can do is give all we have and if we have done that we are winners, winners in Him.

There are constant things that continue to go through my head and I'm sure they will for a long long time. I always have said what drives me is my fear of failure. Its a good fear. As a competitor you don't want to be a good loser, you don't want to get used to the feeling, it burns and it should. As an athlete you always want to have class and lose with grace but that doesn't mean you have to be a good loser. Wearing the USA Softball uniform is such a treasured honor especially knowing the tradition of it and the program. You are expected to win. Yes, there is pressure but what better pressure could you dream of. It has been created by many incredible women before us and knowing them and that every time you put it on, you are reminded. I feel terrible we didn't keep that tradition going. My mind continues to race what could we have done more or better of different.

Standing on that podium it hurt. Please don't think I am not grateful or honored to be a Silver Medalist I am! But we did lose the game. On top of the loss, we lost the entire game from the Olympics for 2012. We said good bye to many of our games greats, the one and only Laura Berg, my Ponytailed Powerhouse roommate and dear friend Crystl Bustos, many more of my amazing teammates, and many more from other countries. These women have given their lives to the sport and the sport will forever be changed because of them! Thinking this could be the last time softball players could have the opportunity to stand in the Olympic arena. The many young and old girls that have dreamed of this moment and weren't able or will not be able to experience it. And I can't deny, my heart was aching for Ace and Casey up there too.

I can remember in Greece standing on the podium looking down at Coach hugging his son and daughter so tightly filled with emotion. They were missing their mom and wife, this really put things in perspective for me. Life isn't about medals or what color medals, it is how you play the game of life. Enjoying everyday that the Lord has blessed us with, knowing that it could be our last. We never know. It really hit me hard on that podium in Athens. As much as we have made our lives about our sport and medals, there is so much more. There in Athens it was supposed to be the most magical moment of my entire life which it was up there for sure on my list... but the Lord spoke to me in that magical moment different from what I thought and expected.

I have been trying to get myself to write this, my mind has been racing the last few days. I really wanted to be able to organize my thoughts and truly tell how I was feeling. I have tried. Thank you for your patience and understanding! I woke up this morning at 5 am knowing it was time. It was time to face it. I can not thank you enough for all your prayers, kind words, and thoughts!

I've been faced with questions regarding retirement too. Lord willing I feel I have some more pitches in this right arm, I still have that fire in me, and I can't imagine walking away as of now. I love my teammates so very much and would go to battle with them and for them any day. I look forward to getting back on the field with them again! I look forward to getting back up to Chicago being a Bandit, and still wearing USA across my chest!

As of right now I can't get enough of my little man and my husband. I have smiled so much in the last 24 hours being home with them. I look forward for the next few months being the mom, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, I haven't been able to be this last year!

Always dreaming & believing!
#27

31 comments:

psykko said...

You inspire me.

For me you are already a winner in the life-game, as i think you called it in this post.

You said that sometimes you can lose a game or win a game.
For the game itself - i live in a country where a softballer's dream is to see Finch pitching live... for the grace of it. And this particularly is the part of the game which once won is won forever - undoubted respect and faith in you, Jenny.

softball20 said...

You are my biggest role model ever!!
You are very right, there is always a winner and always a loser. You are always going to be a gold medalist in my mind because of how many young girls lifes you have change. No matter the outcome of that game little girls still look up to every single one of you.
Myself, I am a teeenager and watching you play just inspires me to raise my game up a notch, knowing that one day if I practice hard enough and work hard enough I can be at that level.
I pray the world will come together and see the true sport of softball and aprrove it for 2016!
I hope to meet you one day!!
Thank you for changing my life and many others!

Brianna said...

Only in defeat can you tell who the real champions are. You define champion to the fullest.

Jen, you are a stud in so many ways and I was praying and cheering that you would win another gold medal but even though it wasn't meant to be, I am so incredibly proud of you. You are the face of softball because you not only possess your outwardly gifts, but more importantly what you have inside that shines through. God has blessed you in so many ways and I cannot think of a person who is more deserving. I am bummed that last game didn't work out the way you wanted but I know that the plan is in place, operating exactly as it is supposed to.

I haven't seen you in FOREVER and I miss you so much but I know that you are savoring every moment with the family. Please tell your two big guys I said hello and give them a big hug from me. I love you.

Tiffany said...

beautiful post Jennie. I too was truly heartbroken when I learned that softball was not going to be in the 2012 Olympics. My hope is that this is not forever. My daughter is only two, but should she love softball, as I did when I was young (and still do!) that she would have the opportunity.

You are a wonderful role model to girls and women everywhere. Keep your head up!

danawana21 said...

Win, Lose, or Draw...YOU are still amazing on the field & off. You are a true inspiration to girls & women of all ages.

softballmom101 said...

You are my daughter's hero. I thank God that she has a positive role model. The most impressive thing about you is your faith and your willingness to let everyone know it. Team USA and you handled yourselves with dignity in every aspect of the game.
You will always be a gold medal hero to us. We look forward to seeing you at the Sulphur softball camp.
I use your example to teach her and her softball team about good sportsmanship. God bless you and enjoy your son and husband.

Irish Eyes said...

What a great game - although I am so sorry USA lost, it was still a great game. Reasons unknown, decisions made, what is done is done. Don't worry about tomorrow, today has enough worries of its own. Enjoy that baby! They grow up so fast! Excellent writing today - much love, from california.

Tasha said...

WOW! I have been so blessed to read your posts for the past few years. Jennie the Lord has your heart and it is so amazing! I am so grateful for the witness that you show on and off the field. I have been looking for this post for a few days now, because I knew you were going to give glory to our Great God who is the only one who deserves it. and I knew that I would be blessed by reading what you wrote because it came from Him. Just want to thank you for being obedient to Jesus and allowing Him to be in control of your life, throughout everything you do. All the media, all the comments and everything that people give you credit, you never take the credit because it doesn't belong to you. Yes, you work hard and you practice to get where you are, but only by the grace of God are you able to and I am so grateful for such a well known athlete, who could so easily get caught up in all the worldliness and it be all about you, but gives God the glory for it! Thank you Jennie and I pray to our High Priest that I would be able to meet you one day, or even just talk to you personally. :) God Bless You dear!! - Opp, AL

Tasha said...

oh yea, just wanted you to know that I am praying for you by name that God would heal your broken heart. I know it's tough to lose, but just remember, it's the race of life that really matters and it's not over. The race is still in progress. This was just a bump in the road or an obstacle to make you stronger and rely more on the Lord. Praying for you and your family! May you finish well!!!

ShayneAshley said...

Jennie I am truly sorry for the loss. It was unfortunate, but it is a part of sport...someone has to lose. Unfortunately...the US got the short end. I have loved reading your entries over the past few days about your olympic experience, and following this team to that pivotal moment. My heart broke as a fan, and I can not imagine how it must have felt as a player. I truly hope I will be seeing Team USA play again whether it be in the Olympics or not. You all are such an inspiration and each of you exudes what it means to be not only world class athletes, but all around great people!

I hope you enjoy your off season Jennie! Although I'm sure you will. Whenever you write about Ace it's as if I can tell your face is lighting up just typing about him! I'm sure he's glad that you're back as well. Take Care! Hopefully I'll be able to watch you play again soon :)

HeatherVassar said...

incredible post!! heart wrenching, happy, exciting, devastating...all in one! :)

As an ex - softball in college, I too have a very competitive nature, but with the coach I had at a D1 university, I wasn't willing to hate the game I had played for so long, and God had other plans for me as well! :) He had already began working on me in pursuing music and just recently began writing for Christian and secular artists!

just watching you girls I get so into the game and feel like I'm a huge part..even though I'm not on the Olympic team!

Seeing your love for the Lord has inspired me and I know so many others. Showing that being a professional athlete and living for the Lord and giving Him the glory is possible and incredible all the same!

I pray that God blesses you and your precious little family and that even through the dry times He becomes even more evident!

Praying for you!

BLASTELITE said...

Jennie you are so inspiring to me and alot of people. I dont think its far to take softball out of the olympics. This sport means a lot to me and and a lot and a lot of softball players. This sport is growing so fast and not havng the olympics around anymore it doest give us anything to look up to in the future. I am 14 and I practice almost everyday I have played asa for almost 5 years. I want to play in they olympics and be a role model like you and the whole olympic team!!!! And one day I Know I will!!!!! Please help put softball back in the olympics, I cried when I saw your faces when you lost and when I read that laura berg crysta bustos kelly kretchmen taira flowers put their cleats on homeplate because they are retiring I could feel their pain that would be hard to do! Leaving a sport that they grew up with always playing they loved that sport so much I hope they left everything on the field no regrets!

Me Myself and I said...

You ladies may not have walked away with the gold medal in Beijing. But you all have inspired so many people and gave your all out there on the field. Thank you! I hope to see you continue pitching. In the meantime, enjoy your family time!

skittlezaddict88 said...

wow you are the true definition of a champion. I have major respect for you and the whole US softball team for that matter. I still believe you guys are deserving of the gold medal. I hope you can enjoy and cherish the time with your family as you should and know that you are an inspiration to many people in this world. :D

rokarea51 said...

Jennie -

You truely are amazing. Thank you again for all that you have done.

Now go enjoy your time with your hubby and lil' guy! :o)

-Dustin

Rizzy said...

I am usually not a blog reader, but I have been following your journey in China and have loved reading about it. You are truly an inspiration. As a former softball player, I was sad to hear softball was out for the next Olympics, but with people like you championing it's return as well as all your fans, I know we will get it back! Thank you for all you do for the sport and of course for all of your adoring fans.

C.Hill said...

I've already sent an email to team usa but just wanted to say to you individually that you are truly a great and encouraging sister in Christ. As successful as you are, it is really awesome that you continue to focus on God first. Even though you are in the center of the softball field, you truly show that God is the center in your life. And thanks so much for that!

It's always great to have the opportunity to watch you play! Hopefully I'll be able to watch a game live if you're ever coming down to the Philly or Jersey area~

Thanks Jennie Finch! Keep on inspiring and reflecting His light! =) We support you and softball all the way~

-C.Hill

BottlesluvesG2 said...

win or lose.your my inspiration.your the best role model ever.

: D

smallfritexan said...

You and Team USA have touched more people than you'll probably ever know and that means more than any medal ever will.
The biggest tragedy is that the young girls to come may have to miss out on the Dot Richardson's, Stacy Nuveman's, and Jennie Finch's of the world when it comes to playing on an Olympic level.It saddens me to think that one day when I have kids they may not have any idea of the Olympics and the traditions that all of you players helped build.
You have my total respect as a player and even more as a person, good luck in the NPF and with all your future endeavors. You are proof that God wants us to use the gifts He gave us to glorify Him! God Bless!

jesusk118 said...

i agree with c.ill, and i wanted to watch u pitch and the gold!! but dont get me wrong, i love monica and cat. you guys gave it your all and thats what matter


GOD BLESS

kristi said...

We don't care what color medal you girls brought home. The important thing is that you guys walked out of there with grace and dignity, knowing that you did the best that you possibly could. And believe me when I say this, you all truly represent what this country is all about and I can't think of any other athletes I'd rather have representing us in Beijing. We are so proud of you and know in our hearts that Team USA is still the best team in the world. There's no doubt in my mind about that. As a recent college graduate who one day dreamed of playing college ball and maybe even in the Olmpics one day (I was unable to play after high school due to extensive hip surgeries), I am truly inspired by you and your teammates. Keep your head up and enjoy your time with your husband and your little boy...family is what matters the most! I'm sure you are a wonderful mother and wife, and that's yet another reason for you to stay proud. I am honored to have had the opportunity to meet you on the Bound 4 Beijing tour (in Visalia) and I must say that your love for the game and your love for God and for life just exudes from you. Thank you, Jennie, for sharing your thoughts with us! God bless you and your family. :)

nokeys said...

Hi Jennie,
Minus the tears and sad faces, I see your right arm is keeping you facing forward, and both your arms around your family is keeping your life in perspective. That distance you felt while away from Ace and Casey is what keeps you grounded.

Now you know a little bit of why you will always be partly "mine".

Hope you saw my post on your Yahoo Sports Athletes.

Your Eastwood second grade teacher, Ms C

trulyafan07 said...

Jennie,
I don't compete but I am fan. Probably a die hard fan. For I too, cried on that day. However, I just prayed to God as well let his will be done. I prayed that he would use you to be a comfort for your teammates. Your always in my prayers. You are a great role model. I'm so proud of your dedication to be on a team that represents USA I truly believe everyone of you girls is the face for softball because it's players like you all that make others play the game. Thank you And May God bless you and bring you closer to him. Alexis

USAMel_26 said...

JENNIE......
ONE game will NEVER take away the fact that you have TOUCHED so many young women, and have proven yourself to be OUTSTANDING, on and off of the field!!

I am inspired by the number 27!! It is in adversity and in pain when a TRUE champion shines!! You have proven to be AMAZING and my admiration for you just tripled in reading this post!!!
God Bless you tremendously, as I know that you deserve all that life has in store for you!!!!

ALWAYS A FAN!!!!
Mel :)

robbie said...

Your ladies make me proud to be an American and a former softball dad. I watch NPF each week and will look forward to seeing you on TV next year.

Blessings,

Softball Dad

cubbygirl said...

Jennie congratilations on the silver medal. You and Team USA are a big inspirations to so manty people around the world. I hope you will still be pitching for TEAM USA next July in OKC as I try for a 4th time to see you guys play. I would have liked to have seen you pitch one more game in Bejing not necessarily the gold medal game as CAT was the supposed ace of the staff. I know you would have liked to have started the gold medal game but I like the comment that you left the decision in God's and coach's hands. By the way did Candrea really retire the day after you lost the gold? You probably can't comment on this but I can't get CAT or her family to answer me right now, was she ok pitching the gold medal game?
I saw a picture of you with your arm around Cat after the game and she had tears in her eyes that picture made me cry. Thanks for being there for her. She's really special. I bet Ace was excited to see you. He sounds like he's a little doll. What are you going to do now? I'm glad you made it back home safely and even though you didn't win the gold, Team USA is and always will be golden to me.Is there anything we as fans can do to get softball back in 2016? If so let us know
Cubbygirl

Lucy said...

I LOVE YOU!! YOU ARE MY FAVORITE!! IM LOOKING FORWARD TO AT LEAST HAVE A PICTURE WITH YOU. DESPITE THE RESULT FROM THE OLYMPICS YOU AND THE USA SOFTBALL TEAM WILL ALWAYS BE MY FAVORITES!

Jesslynmichelle said...

hi Jennie,
my name is Jesslyn.
i just wanted to leave you a comment.
and i hope you take the time to read it.
you have been the biggest help in my life basically. i just look up to you. you push me? i guess you could say, ... eh, i don't have the best home life... i live with my grandparents. and just seeing you play motivates me to get out there and play, no matter how the day went.
another thing i really look up to your for is how you take your faith with God onto the field, i try and do the same. even though sometimes i don't succeed. i always pray before the games for the safety of everyone on that field. if we lose it was already set in stone by God, and we can go and get the next game. you stay positive & i love it.
you play the game with so much heart, and you always give it your all, you head is always up & you are always cheering on your teammates in the roughest of times during those games. That is something i've always tried to do, and seeing you do it makes me want to do it more.

you have so many girls like me, who look up to you and want to be as good as you are. i just hope sometime i get to meet you, it would be amazing!

May God Bless You!
Jesslyn.

if you get time please e mail me.
jesslynmichelle@aol.com

Lena said...

I watched all the games online. The USA didn't have their best pitcher playing in the gold medal game.

Sandman20 said...

You all tried your hardest to come up on top but this time japan just came on top, the world is changing its a prof to the committee that the US can be bet and that it should be reinstated into the olympics in 2016. You put the dream out there for all of us players know are dreams are crashing down with knowing we will never be able to play in the games as the USA dynisty team did. your one of the most looked up to athlets in softball with your dedication. Yor like the mia hamm of softball just like mia was the michel jordan of softball. You are the woman that inspire us young athlets and i hope that i can get that chance to represent the USA just like the ones that walked before me. Great job out there yeah it hurts and always will but look at it this way look how far you all have broght the sport..

hayleigh said...

You are the best!
You inspire me soo much. It makes me just want to play softball 24/7. I wish I could do that. My dream is to play for the USA team. Hopefully the Olympics will be back in 2016. As I would be a junior in college. I WILL meet you someday as I will be playing on the USA team. I look forward to it everyday! I practice everyday for my dream to come true. Iam a left handed pitcher in 8th grade. I started when i was 6 years old!
And you are always a winner in my heart!