Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Victory & Heartache! Super Bowl Recap

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! ;)

Dreaming & Believing,


Matthew T. said...

I like your recap of your playing days in Arizona Wildcats Softball. I know you had it both ways in winning in 2001 and losing the national title in 2002. We all have our ups and downs. I do enjoy reading your honest feelings about sports and in life in general. The losses may be tough at times but they do serve learning experiences as well as winnings ones too!

Anonymous said...

That was powerful!! It is so great to know that God takes care of us through the best times of our lives and reminds us of our purpose through some of the hardest times! You are an inspiration to so many and I admire your spirit! You put the game and life into perspective! God Bless You! AWESOME!!

Bianca said...

I love you, Finchy! This was your BEST blog entry yet.

Keep it up, Jen!

Blane said...

Jennie, my wife and I have been huge fans of you and the game of softball since you started playing at Arizona. One of the highlights of ours was meeting you at Emerson Park in Midland Mi in 2006 before Beijeing.That was awsome! Keep up the great work and God Bless You!

Mama Mote said...

I am SO glad I found your blog. This is so well put. Yes, God is there in our victories and in our losses and loves us the same as He always does. We are just studying about trials and how the devil knows our buttons to push that could send us one way or another in response to a trial or in this case a loss. You could have stomped off and just headed to your room and ignored the fans who waited for you. But thankfully, even as much as you hurt, you were able to face them and God showed you how much they loved you no matter what. You gave so much to their school and they were going to miss you. You also gave them a gift. Thanks for sharing your heart and being real. God bless.

Andie said...

While I understand your heartache about the Colts and Payton Manning losing the biggest game of the season, they have also known a Super bowl victory. The Saints have never known the feeling of a Super Bowl victory in the teams entire history. I am glad the Saints had their taste of a Super Bowl victory. I have no doubt that the Colts will be back next year in full force.

Kelly said...

Beautiful! :)Hope to see you in RR soon!?

Jennie Finch said...

Thank you! Yes, Amen to that! He is there with us at all times! Through the high's and the low's! Many times the low's is when we can and will grow the most!

Andie- Yes, I am super excited for the Saints!!! So proud of what they have done for the city of New Orleans, state of Louisiana, and our country! What an inspiration!


I enjoyed looking over your blog
Great blog title
God Bless you

ajnrileysmommy said...

beautifully said :)

Missy said...

You are right Jennie! Losing stinks, winning is elating, overwhelming, exciting....but there is a loser and a winner in just about every sport anymore. I think its during those losses that we reach out to Him to help us thru.
You hurt at that last game, your final loss....but thru Him you found the grace, dignity, patience and love to be that young lady He has molded you to be. I truly believe He has a plan Jennie. That you are just one of his disiciples here to spread his love and joy, sharing it with others. Can u imagine the people you touched that day???? Think about it....The example you are showing to Ace is just awe inspiring. You should be proud! Thanks for sharing...
#15's mom

JOE+KATHRINA photography said...

From all your blog posts, something made me stop and pay full attention to this one. I of course started to cry. Thank you for the inspiration