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!
Happy 1 day late Mother's Day to all of the Mom's out there! I hope you all had a well deserved most fabulous Mother's Day! I enjoyed my day with my Ace's at a couple of ball fields, a save, and then topped off with a wonderful dinner with them & ice cream on the couch! Actual dinners like sitting down at a table as a family is far and few between during the baseball season we can usually count them on one hand. I was very thankful we were able to share a dinner together at a table as a family... a precious gift!
I am so incredibly blessed beyond words regarding my Mom! She is the best! She is my rock! So many laughs, tears, joy, celebrations, losses, lessons, and so many unforgettable memories. She has shown me and taught me so much about life and love! She is always there for me to talk to, always there to shed a tear with, she has always been there...
I decided I would make a list of 27 (of course) things to share about my mom! ...I could go on forever but will share 27 with you.
1. She took off 3 weeks of work to go with me to China for World Championships hauling Ace over seas with me at 3 months old! (If that's not love...) Oh, we packed for any and every emergency, diapers & food for a year in case we got stuck... it was crazy and we DID it! 2. Getting up at 4 am every morning for work to enable us to do what we loved. 3. Setting up the snack shack throughout High School through 3 seasons a year for 4 years! Volleyball, Basketball, & Softball 4. She is always there to tell me how it is and what I need to hear not what I want to hear. 5. She has put up with a living room table of fan mail for the last 8 years and has gone through every single piece of mail I have received. She helps me answer it all back. Yes, thank her she deserves all of the credit, I just sign. 6. She makes my clean clothes smell like heaven (I cannot figure it out, same soap, same softener... its her magic touch). 7. She makes the best lasagna I have ever tasted. 8. She gives the best hugs & back rubs. 9. She has such a sensitive & caring heart, cries at everything... I am following in her footsteps! 10. She yells during Laker games at the TV! It would scare Ace when he was little, now he yells for Kobe and shouts Go Lakers right with her! 11. She has the most beautiful green eyes I have ever seen! 12. She told me after I pitched a perfect game in HS, if I did another back to back I could get a Guess Watch (which I wanted so very badly), sure enough I did it, she bought it! A fun memory! 13. She is very conservative, my shorts & skirts are never long enough. I appreciate that in her. 14. She adores her grand kids! Seeing her with Ace is the greatest sight! 15. She kept peace (for the most part) in our household with our father/daughter softball world & relationship! :) 16. She's always up to share a bowl of ice cream with you. 17. She bleeds Dodger Blue & now whatever team Casey is with. 18. She took 2 weeks off of work to be with us as Casey was on the road and Ace was just born! (Such a special time we shared... treasured memories forever.) 19. She went to Taiwan and took my Grandma with her to watch me play for the Jr. USA Team. My first USA experience it was so special having them there & reassuring at the age of 17. 20. She is there to listen everyday when I call her. 21. She laughs so hard she cries & coughs. 22. She doesn't wear makeup and is naturally beautiful. 23. We have the same toes. 24. She gets competitive when it matters. 25. She is a woman of faith and loves the Lord! 26. I love her hands, always well manicured and so very soft! She has such a gentle touch. 27. She is my Mom and I adore her!!!
She loves the little things in life and is such a simple person full of love! I am completely overwhelmed with such appreciation and gratitude for all she has been, sacrificed, and cont. to be in my life! I love you Mom! I thank the Lord above daily for blessing me with a Mother like you!
She has taught me and enabled me to always Dream & Believe! #27
This past weekend was awesome! Softball season is here! I had such a blast hanging out at our tournament at the beautiful Diamond Nation & JF Softball Academy this past weekend. It started off with a Pizza Party with all of our Ace's (12u, 14u, & 16u) on Friday night. It was a blast grubbing it up on amazing NY Pizza and getting to know the Ace's better. What a great group we have with all of our teams & Coaches! These girls are looking good in their pink & black and looking forward to a summer full of competing!
Here are just a few of the pictures I took with the teams that were in our tournament.
On Sunday I had the privilege to head out to Manhassett High School to meet the Middle School girls and Manhassett High School team. Even though they live in a lacrosse dominated area, it was great to see the passion for the sport of softball there. A group of parents came together after the tragic loss of an amazing Coach & Parent, Rocky, and built a magical field for these ladies to play on. They named it "Rocky's Field" in honor of this dearly beloved man, father, and softball fanatic! It is nicer than some of the college fields that I've played on. It was a very special ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication to Rocky and for all the softball players of the area. You could feel the love for him out there on that field. I want to commend this group of parents for their dedication, hard work, and commitment in honor of Rocky and for the softball players of Long Island. Manhassett High last year was rained out of 80% of their games... quite depressing to work so hard preparing for season and then to only play 20% of their games. Well now Manhassett High has one of the most premier astroturf softball fields in the country and an angel looking down on them. It was such an honor for me to be there and I left inspired! Thank you Manhassett!
I'm training hard getting ready for the 2010 NPF season and competing with Team USA this summer! It is coming up fast! Looking forward to getting back in uniform on the field with my teammates!
We are off to the west coast for a quick television show taping then headed back to Houston/Spring for our first JF Softball Camp of 2010! We are looking forward to kicking it off in the great state of Texas! Can't wait... its been too long! We have 3 camps this month Houston, Ardmore OK, & Colorado Springs Memorial Day weekend! Spots are still avail! Register today @ www.JennieFinch27.com
Outside the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, cardinals are flying, bees are buzzing, the eggs are hatching, it is so beautiful. It has been a Magical Spring! Celebrating Easter was such a great reminder of why we all have reason to have such an incredible joy and hope within us!
We as a family had a great time down in Florida for Spring Training! We met so many great people and made some very sweet friendships! We had family come visit and we all got to do some of the touristy things that Orlando has to offer. To name a few, catch an Orlando Magic Game, sit on an alligator, and meet President Bush Senior (Ace even ate some of his popcorn), and watch a lot of good baseball! Here are some pictures of our fun Spring!
Casey had such an awesome Spring! He did so incredibly well!!! We are so very proud of him regardless of what he does on the field however he was lights out! :) It was so much fun watching him out there on the mound, so confident, so committed, and so determined! It seems unfathomable that he didn't make the Astros after his terrific spring. Yes, Unbelievable! But as we know the Lord has a plan and we are praying for only His will. My dad sent me this the other day and it is what gives us peace.
"If you are leading your life according to Gods will...then no matter what the situation good or bad...it's exactly where God wants you to be."
I have such great admiration and respect for my "Big Ace!" He continues to plug away, knowing this is exactly where God wants him to be! Daily he is an example for me and our family! He will be starting out with the Round Rock Express and waiting for whatever the Lord has in store. Thank you for all of your love and support you have shown for Casey now and over the years! We are so incredibly grateful and appreciative. We have been overwhelmed and it has been such a blessing!
This last weekend was such a blast! Casey was able to be home in the spring for the first time in 10 years... the Lord works in mysterious ways! Louisiana is on the way from Florida to Texas, another blessing! ;) We were able to celebrate Easter and Casey's birthday in as Casey calls it, "God's Country!" We had so much fun with family & friends! A crawfish boil, fish fry (Casey catch), dying eggs, Mamaw's crawfish Ettoufee, gallons of sweet tea, Casey's fav yellow cake with chocolate icing (thanks Dee), and lots of fun! I have to admit I do realize why Casey is ever so proud and In Love with the great state of Louisiana!
We have SO much to be thankful for! Wishing you all a beautiful spring full of joy & hope!
Dream & Believe! #27
PS SO excited for Baseball/Softball Season!!! Let's Play Ball!!!!
Last week I joined an incredible list of athletes and the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Assoc. for National Health through Fitness day. Our goal was to try to gain support for the Physical Education Bill. Thank you Mizuno for being so actively involved and allowing me to be a part of raising awareness for a great cause.
It was my 2nd time meeting with Congressmen & Women and Senators in our Capitol. The first time was with the Women's Sports Foundation trying to get support to keep Title IX alive. This time it was quite similar except the atmosphere was much more intense due to the state of the economy & health care.
Overall it was a huge success, we were able in the meetings state our concern for keeping Physical Education in Schools. I learned some pretty amazing facts preparing for our tour.
-Schools are now being built with out play grounds and gymnasiums -1/3 of our country is Obese & another 1/3 is Overweight -Kids are 3-4 times more likely to play sports if they are introduced to PE in school -Kids test scores are higher when involved in sports -It costs $746 dollars per 1,000 kids to participate in PE, around 75 cents a kid. A math book averages $7 dollars a kid and some kids have a set of 2, 1 for home and 1 for school. Yet we are cutting PE? -For every $1 spent on PE the return is $3.20 long term (health bills & etc)
It is crucial we get our young kids active! I cannot express the importance of this. It is prevention, prevention of diabetes, obesity, self esteem, confidence, and so much more! We have to make it a point and invest in the future of this Country! So many skills from the classroom can be taught through PE, math, problem solving, and etc. We need to be creative and keep our kids moving! Kids aren't safe hanging in the neighborhood anymore, playing til the street lights come on. Most kids stay inside after school are on the computer or playing video games. Parents I want to encourage you to make it a point to join your kids and help them be active. Technology & Electronics have blessed us in so many ways but have cursed us in so many ways also. We have to unite and take a stand to help our kids, they are our future!
Trust me as a mom I know how TV and electronics simplify our lives and I too have to make a point to turn it off! So many times I find myself missing out on interacting with Ace because of electronics consuming him. We've been going on bike rides the last couple weeks and exploring the outdoors together, it has been so enjoyable! We love going to the playground too, meeting new people and playing outside. Let's all join in, get moving & get active!
It was so uplifting meeting so many in the Sporting Goods Industry and on Capitol Hill that are actively supporting this cause and trying to make a difference! I was honored to be a part of National Health Through Fitness Day! Let's all try to do our part and get our kids outside, active, and eating a more healthy balanced diet.
My world was rocked when hearing of precious LaylaGrace... she was called to be with Jesus this week. In her short life of 2 years, the Lord had HUGE plans for her, touching SO many all over the world.
My world was rocked again over a week ago hearing about a young beautiful talented girl taking her own life at 16 years old. Brianne Matthews was a shining star in our sport of softball. She was verbally committed to attend the University of Arizona. She was a 4.0 student. She had such a bright future... My heart aches for her and family.
I cannot imagine what these families are going through... I have been in tears & prayer for them both. In the midst of all of the pain, sadness, despair, and hurt, I am reminded the Lord is in control. I am reminded our time here on earth is so short. We are here one minute, gone in another. May we all make the best of it, cherish it, appreciate it, and love another! I know hearing about Layla Grace and Bre has rocked my world. Every minute, these last few weeks I am reminded what a gift it truly is. Romans 5:3-5 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Everywhere you look around us and within us, we see compromise. We see that shady gray area and are being told Gray is okay. There are so many times in my life I have settled, I have compromised. I want to encourage and challenge us all to stand up for what is Right! I know I need to be more bold in many aspects of my life. It may not be the easy way but I believe the Lord will provide the strength and courage to not only get us through it but bless us in ways we cannot even imagine.
I received an email from a Sunday school teacher about a little girl who told on a classmate for having a hand gun at school. She was scared and not sure she did what was right. No way should this young girl have these feelings, if anything she is a hero and needs to be celebrated!
We as parents, leaders, and adults need to be the ones setting the example for our youth. If we as parents are lying, cheating, and slowly compromising, this is what we can expect from our children. I know I get this feeling in my gut, condemnation... I pray for the strength to do what is right in every situation, big or small. A lot of times we/I think it is okay to do in small situations or we/I try to justify our actions. Many times this is to get ahead in this life. I am reminded in Matthew 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.25If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.26And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
I am so grateful for my parents and grandparents showing us & letting us know/see the difference between Right and Wrong, Clean and Unclean, Pure and Impure! Yes, we/I will fall short but we need to know there is a difference between Right & Wrong! I pray, I can and will pass this along to Ace & others. I pray Ace knows the difference and lives it. I pray for more of that gut feeling to know, along with the strength to stand! We as a society need more of this and less Shady Gray!
Watching the Olympics this week I have been filled with so much emotion! It is truly amazing! I am filled with such great pride, appreciation, gratitude, honor, passion, and love!
Love for our Country, Sports, Red White & Blue, People from all over the world, Competition, Dreams being a reality... so many things! One of my greatest memories is walking through the tunnel as 1, 1 Country, 1 team, into the birds nest in Beijing chanting U-S-A! I love what the Olympics represent and is, healthy competition among people from all over the world, we are all united. United by Sport. I loved walking through the athlete village and seeing athletes, all different shapes and colors from all over the world, wearing their Countries flags with such great pride! In the dining hall, all different types of food from all over the world! Competing against people who don't even speak your same language. Knowing how different we all are but how much in common we all have! I feel so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity of being part of something so great, the Olympic Games!
Sports have been able to reunite the world, in a time were there is so much division. I hope you are enjoying the Olympics as much as I have this last week! Truly Amazing!
I remember standing on the podium with my teammates and being overwhelmed with gratitude! I couldn't help but think of all our servicemen & women and their families who have and are sacrificing so much. Thanks to them we were able to accomplish our dreams. I am so grateful for them allowing us and others to play, live, and have these great opportunities.
This picture is from last summer, I'm rounding the bases after JenaeLeles launched a home run vs Australia. But honestly, this is me this past week in front of the TV, screaming, cheering, rooting for USA! ...Minus the helmet & uni! :) In between the podium tears & tears of joy for the incredible individuals who have given so much and who are living out their dreams. I love the Olympics!
Along with knowing we have to fight to get this opportunity back for Softball in the future. For all the little ones who have The Olympic Dream.
Watching the Superbowl my heart was elated for the Saints and Drew Brees but on the other hand I was aching for the Colts and Peyton Manning. I know the feeling before that Gold Medal game, or the Nat'l Championship game. You know there is going to be a winner and a loser in just a few hours. You know you will either walk back into your hotel room as a Champion or not. Its the feeling you train for, the place you want to be, you dream about being there your entire life!
It brought me back to my last 2 years of being a Wildcat. In 2001 (my junior year) we did it, finally! We sent 8 seniors out with a Championship, a ring, we achieved it! We were finally the ones jumping up and down on the field lifting the trophy high! This was a magical year, we were on a mission, we had an AMAZING team! I was undefeated this year on the mound... I can remember fighting the devil telling me in my ear, don't let this final game be your only & first loss of the year/season. I fought that the entire time trying to ignore those negative thoughts! I tried focusing on each pitch, each task, and most importantly battling for my team! We did it! We finally won! It was awesome we were playing UCLA, our biggest rival, our biggest competition back then. And we pulled it off 1-0! Finally the Champions!
Then came the next year 2002 (my senior year), we lost 8 seniors from 2001, I knew it was going to be a challenge getting back there let alone winning again! But we did it, we made it back, we were in the Championship game the following year. Just getting to that final game wasn't enough, we wanted to finish it, win it! Coach Candrea always says, "its tough to win a National Championship and even tougher to repeat!" But We were going to do it, we could it, I wanted nothing more than to prove that statement wrong! This time it ended the complete opposite way, we fell short, way short. Ouch, it hurt, hurt really bad. This isn't the way I wanted to end my career as a Wildcat. The score was brutal, my last game as a Wildcat was ugly. I was devastated and heartbroken. I can remember fighting the tears and losing the battle of holding them in.
After sitting in the dug out for what seemed like 2 hours, I finally gathered my stuff and made my way off the field. I was walking off of the Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City as a Wildcat for the last time and we/I fell short. The Lord used this time to speak to me and speak to me clearly. I didn't make it too far, I was immediately stopped at the gate. I couldn't even get out. All I wanted was my hotel room and bed so badly, to sit and sulk by myself. I then looked up and there was this enormous line wrapped around the stadium, no end in sight. The security guards asked me if I wanted to sign autographs. I replied, "Not really, but how can I say no to this line?" He said, "It's up to you?" I knew in my heart I had to sign, it was the right thing to do.
I dropped my bag and stayed there til the last girl received a signature. Through tears, I signed, I was there for hours... I was floored. I kept thinking we lost, I was the loser. Why are these people wanting my autograph? Through so many hugs and generous people encouraging me that day. It was such a gift! A gift from the Lord. He reminded me its not about winning or losing, its about touching lives, touching others! I received more mail from that day than our perfect season, Nat'l Champs, going 32-0, the previous year. So many sweet thoughtful letters about the way I handled the loss, thanking me for staying and signing. I was in awe and still am thinking about it today.
The Lord taught me a big lesson that day! It doesn't make the pain of a loss go away but He reminded me of my purpose. Its not about the trophies or medals, its about touching others, living out God's will! Trying to be a Champion even when we are not the Champ. Through Christ we are all Champions, Jesus died for our sins & our losses, we are able to gain the gift of eternity through His grace! We are fighting for the true prize, the nonperishable prize, the prize of eternity! As my Gold medal tarnishes and gets scratched, I cringe. I cringe and then chuckle... its the Lord reminding me yet again, there is more to it! The trophies & medals will one day fade away.
When I go back to Oklahoma City, it never fails, that line is brought up by someone. The longest line they had ever seen for "the loser!" Thank you Lord for using the losses & heartaches to help mold me and shape me. And Lord, just FYI I prefer winning! ;)
Last weekend I hit the road for the first time in 2 weeks. It was a great break and lovely to spend quality time as a family! Our "Ace" time was much needed and full of fun! Casey is training hard getting ready for Spring Training. We are excited for him and looking forward to Spring Training with the Astros. Ace is well just being our "Ace"! Loving every minute, always exploring and learning.
I headed out to the east coast and attended the Mohegan Sun Coaches Convention in Conn. Its a beautiful casino/mall and we had an incredible turn out for softball! I hung at the Mizuno, ProMounds, & DiamondNation booths for a bit and then had an hour session on "Mental Toughness & more!" I had a blast, thanks to all who attended!
From there I headed over to Hyde Park, New York. I had the opportunity and honor of dining at the Culinary Institute of America. What a treat!!! I fully devoured and enjoyed my four course meal. I didn't eat all day, anxiously awaiting this night! I had Crab Cakes, Goat Cheese Salad, Seared Hake & Mussels, topped with a melt in your mouth warm chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream! WOW! Yes, I left in pain but it was SO worth every bit! I had the pleasure of staying at the oldest Inn in the US. It was beautiful & historic. George Washington even stayed there... papers framed on the wall to prove it! I woke up to a fresh white snowfall and headed over to FDR High School for a little clinic. It was fun getting back to a high school gym! There is something about that gym smell, as horrific as it can be sometimes I love it! Full of so many great memories! We had some fun talking pitching & hitting, and of course a little on life lessons. Thank you FDR High for your generous hospitality!
I headed into the city after, from the historic Inn to the W in Time Square! Gotta love it! Enjoyed my night full of bright lights, had a few meetings in the morning, visited MTV, and headed back to reunite as Aces! :)
I landed to a house full of "pants on the ground" and tissues everywhere you turn! This is what happens when my Aces have the house to themselves! Off to finish the fourth load of laundry and to a scavenger hunt for tissues, used glasses, & wrappers around the house! Ace is now requesting bacon... I wouldn't have it any other way!
I love it! Here I am in the kitchen at midnight tearing into a bag of Cheez Its while my husband is now opening the pantry ripping into the Frosted Flakes! This is what I hoped for in life & marriage! It doesn't mean I don't get an evil eye every once in awhile when I bust into snacks late night, but still I love it! And it just so happens tonight he is joining me which is rare so it made my night.
I believe marriage is all about the little things... I feel it's the same with life. The little things that lift us up, the moments in between the grand events, celebration, gifts, and etc. If the little things are good, the big will be even better.
We have been married 5 years... Crazy! Unreal! Time is flying by warp speed. Its even more crazy to think Ace is about to be 4! My goal is to continue to make the little things in my/our life good, the day to day, the minute by minute. Enjoying the little things. When Ace grabs my face and kisses me on the cheek out of now where... that is what I am talking about. Oh, how it melts every piece of my heart. When Casey kisses me good bye every morning or the instant hug Iget when he walks into the house. Its the little things that have made these last 5 years so incredible!
I know I am about to throw Casey under the bus a little right now but he has given me the moon and back for gifts! He helps prove or does prove my point about the little things theory! Seriously, he has given more than I could ask for, know of, or even want! For our 5 year anniversary a few days ago he got the me the sweetest card (which meant the world to me, he is the best with thoughtful cards, again the little things!) and a People Magazine. I looked at him and grinned. We had just completed our 5 star, 5 course anniversary meal, it was amazing Now, I am searching for the answer about the People Magazine. (We weren't supposed to get each other gifts, just a night out to celebrate). With his dimpled cheeks looking right back at mine he started to explain. "For our '5' year anniversary the gift is wood. There wasn't anything wood that I could think of that you "wood" (get it) want so I knew I would be safe with a People Magazine!" I died of laughter and was overflowing with joy! So clever and so hilarious and cute all at the same time! I responded immediately elated, "I love it!" I truly did and do! After 5 years he has found the way to my heart!!! Usually, I get nervous for gifts from him because he really would/does get me the world and I never know with what he will show up with. Let me tell you I am still smiling ear to ear thinking about my People Mag! He gets it, he knows how to get to my heart and he did on our 5 year anniversary and he does get their daily. I am so grateful and blessed! An unforgettable anniversary, no doubt!
People, let me tell you... Brilliant! Its the little things, People!
We just got back from USA Tryouts... always great in a way to get them over with. Its always nerve racking no matter how many times we've been through it. It was great to get back out on the field with the girls. It's always fun catching up with everyone and hanging out in the down time. I roomed with Tasha, Cat, and Lappin, good times!
We did testing the first day along with some drill work. We had to run the bases for time and do the beep test. This is what we all look forward to getting through and done with... the conditioning testing. We are always filled with anxiety and nerves before our running testing. We all survived and put up some pretty good numbers especially after the holidays! :)
We split up in teams and played games the rest of the week. It was as though it was one of my first tryouts... the butterflies were there. Good butterflies, the butterflies you love and train for! It felt so good to get back out on the field! My love of competing and the game still continues to grow. I don't know how but it does, growing more and more. Driving down to the training center I was filled with so many memories. The position our sport is in the with Olympics and all, this could be the last time we are able to train at the Olympic Training Center. It is such a beautiful place and an incredible training facility. We have known to love the staff there and we know it as our home. We started out having to drive to fields then was so blessed with our own field being built on site... its immaculate!
I tried to leave the emotions at the gate and just enjoy the week. I did, but still the emotions were there. So many years, weeks, days, tryouts, workouts, conditioning, hours in the dining hall, nights, meetings, relationships made... so blessed we are/I was/I am to be able to have these special memories! Going back to when they posted the team on a door (the worst walk ever, walking to see if your name is on the list). Now they send out an email a couple days after, thank God! So many great times with my teammates and Coaches.
Going at it, as each time I'm on the field, knowing it could be my last as I get older. Soaking it up, each precious moment!
We find out tomorrow if we make the team, I'll let you know.
Thank you to all the players, staff, Coaches, so many people who have made my career and life so enriched! I am forever grateful and so very appreciative!