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!
The Parting Gift + the Final Goodbye
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