At Capitol Hill Support Physical Fitness
by Jennie Finch on March 15, 2010
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.
Dreaming & Believing in a brighter future!
Our Sport, Softball
by Jennie Finch on February 11, 2011
We all have been so blessed to see our game of softball explode over the last couple decades! On the International Level, Professional Level, Collegiate Level, High School Level, and at the Grass Root Level. I have been beyond blessed to be a part of our game at all of these levels, watching the legends of our game play and playing along side them. We as past players/current players want only to keep this progression going and continue to provide more and more opportunity for the millions of young girls playing our game all over the world. Now that I am retired I hope to have even more opportunity to help and assist with this movement. It is an exciting and crucial time for our sport.
We all know our biggest setback occurred following the 2008 Olympics with our sport sadly being removed from the Olympics. As hard as it still is to say those words, we must move on. We must continue to climb the mountain and leap over the hurdles just as those before us have. We are forced to move forward and find a way to continue to gain momentum and growth.
I have had the honor of playing with many incredible amazing women both internationally and professionally. Many of them still continue to play, and are tremendous representatives of our game. With the National Pro Fastpitch League growing and becoming more and more established many of our game’s greatest players have been forced into a tough decision. Unfortunately, it has been made impossible to play both USA Softball and in the NPF. My heart hurts thinking that our game’s best players will not be wearing USA this summer. I know how much it means to wear USA across your chest and I know how much pride, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice each one of these players have put in to wear USA. As hard as it was for them to make the decision to choose between USA and the NPF, I know each and every one of them ONLY want what is BEST for the SPORT and the FUTURE. I have the utmost respect for these core players and I know our game is in great hands! These players Watley, Mendoza, Osterman, Lappin, Lowe, Duran, Abbott, Galindo, & many more have an incredible opportunity to continue our game’s growth in many different arenas.
I know it will not be the same to watch Team USA this summer but I am excited for the opportunity for many young women to live out their dream of wearing the Red, White, & Blue. I am excited for the future of the National Pro Fastpitch League to explode now that it has the commitment of the most established players in our sport. Its tough to have a Professional League without the game’s best players… Don’t get me wrong–many of our game’s greatest players are in the NPF, the talent level is the best in world! It has always been a struggle for the league to not have the USA players in an NPF uniform! I look forward to an even better, stronger NPF than we have ever seen. I look forward to many new faces getting the chance to travel the world and represent USA and carry on the many great traditions internationally.
Overall this is a incredible time for our sport. A time of building, growing, providing more and more opportunity within our great game. I want to commend and honor the truly amazing Veterans of our sport who have had to make this very tough decision. I am your biggest fan and have nothing but great respect for each and every one of you. You and the many others within our game are carrying the torch and will continue to do remarkable things. For this I know! Thank YOU for your dedication, love for our game, immeasurable sacrifices, and being You! To Watley, Mendoza, Osterman, Lappin, Lowe, Duran, Abbott, Galindo, and many more, I love each of you like a sister and will be your biggest supporter whenever you are on or off the field, in the Japan Softball League, in the NPF, or in Red, White, & Blue. Thank you for your commitment to our sport; keep doing great things! I can’t wait to see you in all back in Uniform.
As fans what can we do? We can SUPPORT these women and our sport! Go watch these women play, we have to put our money where our mouth is. We have to fill seats. We have to truly support our sport. When our sport is on TV, we must tune in. We must support the sponsors and companies who support our game. The owners of the NPF have invested a ton of money for the NPF to continue. Please come out and watch the best softball in the world!
Here are the websites
Thank you to all who have supported, played, invested, and love our game. Here’s to a better than ever year- 2011!
Dreaming & Believing in a Bright Future for Our Sport, Softball!
How long has Mizuno made baseball equipment?
by Mizuno USA on December 10, 2010
Mizuno has a long legacy of making high-quality performance baseball equipment. Since our founding in 1906, we've manufactured some of the sport's best gear, and helped promote the sport of baseball around the world.
Is it important to match my ball glove to the position I play?
by Mizuno USA on November 23, 2010
Yes! Each position requires different glove attributes. While it really comes down to personal preference, traditionally, the length of the glove's webbing is matched to each position (typically longer webs are for outfielder gloves while shorter webs are for infield positions).
How long has Mizuno used Wave Technology in its shoes?
by Mizuno USA on November 22, 2010
Wave was introduced by Mizuno in 1998 with the Wave ST. In 1999, the Wave Rider won the Runner's World Editors Choice Award. Since then Wave Technology has won over 30 Runner's World awards along with dozens of other industry accolades.
Mizuno buying guide featured in Golf Digest and Golf World Magazines
by Iver Maple on February 17, 2011
Golf Digest and Golf World magazines have published their 2011 Buyer's Guide featuring "Great Golf Gear to Fit Your Game". The feature, which appears in the March issue of Golf Digest and a recent edition of Golf World, has a full two pages dedicated to Mizuno's 2011 product line-up. Included in those two pages are the two Mizuno game improvement irons, the JPX-800 and JPX-800 Pro, four game enhancement irons, the MP-53, MP-63, MP-58, and MP-68, our MP-T11 wedges, and the newly launched JPX-800 wood family. For all of these high performance golf clubs, there are images and full product descriptions that outline their innovative Mizuno technologies.
Additionally, there is a half-page of coverage on the Mizuno Performance Fitting System and Shaft Optimizer, with details on the five metrics (clubhead speed, tempo, toe down, kick angle, and release factor) that produce the recommended golf shafts for every golfer's unique swing.
U.S. Women’s National Team Weekly Update for Jan. 24
by Mizuno USA on January 24, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 24, 2011) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on Jan. 24 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.
McCUTCHEON HEADLINE SPEAKER AT HP COACHES’ CLINIC: U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand), along with U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.) and Stanford University Head Women’s Volleyball Coach John Dunning, served as headline speakers at the 2011 USA Volleyball High Performance Coaches’ Clinic Jan. 20-22 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. A total of 188 coaches participated in the three-day clinic. Jennifer Bonilla (Reseda, Calif.), a seven-year member of the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline with three international tournament experiences, presented her “Blind Side” story of growing up on Saturday afternoon. Other individuals giving presentations were USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal, U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach and UC Irvine Women’s Head Coach Paula Weishoff, U.S. Women’s National Team Athletic Trainer Jill Wosmek, Saint Mary’s College Head Women’s Coach Rob Browning, Jim Stone, Wingate University Head Women’s Coach Shelton Collier, University of Louisville Head Women’s Coach Anne Kordes, University of Central Florida Head Women’s Coach Todd Dagenais, VolleyballRecruits.net’s Amanda Millard and Spike Summers. Serving as athlete demonstrators for the clinic were Juliann Faucette (San Diego), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Ellie Blankenship (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.), Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) and Sabel Moffett (Temecula, Calif.). For photo galleries of the USA Volleyball High Performance Coaches’ Clinic, click here.
McCUTCHEON, KIRALY, LLOYD TALK VOLLEYBALL TO KIDS IN COLORADO SPRINGS: U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand), U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.) and 2010 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Player of the Year Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) participated in a meet-and-greet at the Big House Sports facility in Colorado Springs the morning of Jan. 22. In addition, the trio discussed volleyball to the group of youngsters and parents, while also giving skill demonstrations. For photos of the event, click here.
BOWN WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), a three-time Olympic Games middle blocker for the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing in Turkey for Eczacibasi during the 2010-11 professional club season. In CEV Champions League action, Eczacibasi has advanced into the Playoff 12 Round and will play France’s RC Cannes in a home-and-home series on Feb. 1 and Feb. 9. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi defeated Karsiyaka 25-14, 25-18, 25-15 without Bown on the active roster. Eczacibasi is now 10-0 in the league, ahead of Vakifbank (9-1) and Fenerbahce (8-1).
SPICER WITH POLAND’S GCB CENTROSTAL BYDGOSZCZ: Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.), a setter for the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing in the Polish professional league this winter for GCB Centrostal Bydgoszrcz. Spicer’s squad edged Organika Budowlani 25-22, 20-25, 25-18, 25-20 on Jan. 22. Spicer set her team to a 45 kill percent and added two blocks, two aces and a kill of her own to the stat sheet. She and her teammates return to action on Jan. 26 versus Sandeco EC Wybrzeze TPS Rumia.
MORRISON, SIX AMERICANS ON ONE AUSTRIAN TEAM: U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.) is serving as head coach of the Austrian Post Schwechat team during the 2010-11 season. The team has six American players including Jill Collymore (Seattle), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.), Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii), Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). Post Schwechat competes in the Middle European Volleyball Zonal Association (teams from Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia). The squad improved to 12-1 on the season with a 25-21, 25-17, 25-15 victory over VK Doprastav Bratislava of Slovakia on Jan. 21. Crimes and Pressey scored 15 points apiece in the victory. Crimes scored 11 kills on 13 swings to go with two blocks and two aces. Pressey was credited with 13 kills, a block and ace. Thompson set her team to a 43 kill percent. Post Schwechat faces Czech Republic’s VK Modranska on Jan. 28 in the next league match. In CEV Cup action, Post Schwechat will now face Turkey’s Galatasaray in a home-and-home series in the 4th Final Round of the CEV Cup. The first match will be Feb. 3, while the return match will be played between Feb. 8-10.
HOOKER WITH ITALY’S PESARO: Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), who played her first season with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2010, is currently competing for Scavolini Pesaro of the Italian Serie A League. Pesaro continues to climb the division standings and is in second place with a 5-3 record and 17 points after rallying to defeat MC Carnaghi Villa Cortese (5-3) 23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 on Jan. 23. Hooker scored 16 points with 14 kills on 36 attacks, one ace and one block. She added a 72 percent positive service reception on 18 attempts. Pesaro will look to continue its drive to the top on Jan. 30 as it battles LIU-JO Volley Modena. In CEV Champions League action, Pesaro challenges Russia powerhouse Dinamo Moscow in a home-and-home series on Feb. 3 and Feb. 10.
There is a lot more over on the USAV site and you can read the full article by clicking here.
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
U.S. Women's Update for Feb. 8
by Mizuno USA on February 8, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 8, 2011) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on Feb. 8 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.
U.S. WOMEN TO HOST JAPAN GIRLS’ YOUTH TEAM: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will host the Japanese Girls’ Youth National Team in Anaheim, Calif., from Feb. 25 to March 4. The visiting squad, which includes former U.S. Women’s National Team volunteer assistant coach Gen Kawakita as an assistant coach, will train at the American Sports Centers and scrimmage against local junior clubs and the U.S. Women’s National Training Team at venues in the Southern California Orange County area. A full detailed schedule will be available later this month once all details are determined.
U.S. WOMEN’S TRAINING BLOCK ADDS PLAYER: The U.S. Women’s National Team is holding its winter training block from Jan. 17 to mid-April at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif. Cami Croteau (Orange, Calif.), a libero who just finished her collegiate eligibility at California State University-Fullerton, was added to the U.S. Women’s National Training Team roster which now numbers 15 players. The training roster includes setters Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.), Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio), Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) and Lexi Zimmerman (Barrington, Ill.); middle blockers Ashley Benson (Bloomington, Ind.), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Naomi Johnson (Bloomington, Minn.) and Dominique Olowolafe (Lansing, Mich.); outside hitters Becky Perry (Austin, Texas), Kari Pestolesi (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Julianne Piggott (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Kaitlin Sather (Santa Rosa, Calif.); opposite Kindra Carlson (Eaton, Colo.); and liberos Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) and Croteau. Pestolesi will also see training time at libero. Additional players may be added to the roster during the course of the training block.
MORRISON, SIX AMERICANS ON ONE AUSTRIAN TEAM: U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.) is serving as head coach of the Austrian Post Schwechat team during the 2010-11 season. The team has six American players including Jill Collymore (Seattle), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.), Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii), Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). Post Schwechat competes in the Middle European Volleyball Zonal Association (teams from Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia). In CEV Cup action, Post Schwechat edged Turkey’s Galatasaray 15-25, 25-13, 25-16, 23-25, 18-16 in the first match of a home-and-home series in the 4th Final Round. Pressey scored 16 points for Post Schwechat, including 14 kills on 28 swings and two blocks. Jones was unstoppable at the net with 10 blocks, two kills on four swings to four aces. Crimes added nine points with seven kills on 18 swings and two aces. Thompson set Post Schwechat to a 42 kill percent while adding three individual points. Miyashiro was the libero for the match, compiling an 82 positive reception percent on 28 attempts. The teams complete the series on Feb. 9 with Post Schwechat in the driver’s seat to advance to the semifinal round. The match video will be available by clicking here. Post Schwechat was idle in the MEVZA league this past week and next challenge A. Linz-Steg on Feb. 12.
SYKORA, ALISHA GLASS SETTING TABLES FOR VOLEI FUTURO IN BRAZIL: Three-time U.S. Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) and U.S. Women’s National Team setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) are competing for Volei Futuro in the Brazilian Superliga during the 2010-11 professional club season. Volei Futuro defeated Banana Boat/Praia Clube 27-25, 25-18, 19-25, 30-28 on Feb. 5 to open the second half of the Brazilian Superliga. Volei Futuro then captured a 21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Usiminas on Feb. 8. Sykora was the libero for both matches, while Glass was still absent with an injury.
FAWCETT IN BRAZIL WITH USIMINAS MINAS: Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), a U.S. Women’s National Team opposite, is playing the 2010-11 professional club season in Brazil with Usiminas Minas. Fawcett scored a match-high 34 points in helping Usiminas to a 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 18-25, 15-12 victory over BMG/Mackenzie on Feb. 6 to open the second half of the Brazilian Superliga. She was credited with 29 kills on 66 attacks, three blocks and two aces in the victory. However, Usiminas dropped a 21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 match to Volei Futuro on Feb. 8. Fawcett tallied 11 points in the loss with 10 of her points via kills on 29 attacks.
There is a lot more over on the USAV site and you can read the full article by clicking here.
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Record Attendance Projected for Open Tryouts
by Emily Adams Knight on February 10, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 10, 2011) – USA Volleyball projects a record 215 athletes will participate in open tryouts for the U.S. Women’s National Team, U.S. Women’s National A2 Program and U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. The tryouts are set for Feb. 25-27, 2011, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The tryouts are open to current college-age athletes and older. The U.S. Women’s National Team program is open to athletes who have concluded their college eligibility and who wish to train full-time. This program could begin as early as March 2011, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded. Athletes who will have remaining collegiate eligibility may still participate in the program with participation beginning May 2011 or when their scholastic calendar ends.
Athletes in college with collegiate eligibility remaining for the 2011 season and not selected to the USA Women’s National Team may be invited to participate in the U.S. Women’s National Senior A2 Team. This program is tentatively scheduled to take place in Dallas from May 23 through June 1. A projected 36 athletes will be invited to participate in the program, which will include training and competition in the 2010 USA Volleyball Open National Championships in the Open Division from May 28-31. USA Volleyball considers the event as the National Championship for the sport of volleyball in the United States.
Tryout participants born in either 1992 or 1993 will be also considered for the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team program. The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team will compete in the FIVB Women’s Junior (U-20) World Championship to be held July 21-30 in Peru.
A full roster of tryout participants will be available next week once all tryout participants are confirmed.
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Charles Howell III to Play JPX800 PRO
by Iver Maple on January 19, 2011
Mizuno has signed a multi-year agreement with US PGA player Charles Howell III. Howell, a two-time PGA Tour Winner, and former PGA Rookie of the Year, will be playing with the Mizuno JPX 800 Pro irons, as well as MP T-11 wedges, while wearing Mizuno headwear, and using the staff bag.
Howell joins a Mizuno stable including Luke Donald – all on multi-year equipment agreements.
Mizuno believes they can help Howell maximize a talent that has generated over $20 million in tour earnings over his career. Andy Kikidas, Tour Operations Manager: “Charles is likely to be Mizuno’s last signing for the 2011 season. Charles is a proven talent and if our equipment can help him just a fraction then he will be in contention for a win this season."
by Mizuno USA on February 9, 2011
Mizuno has launched a new slow pitch bat series, the Craze. This revolutionary new bat from Mizuno provides the slow pitch athlete with one of the most powerful, durable, and affordable bats on the market. The Craze slow pitch bat is available in both ASA and USSSA models. Both the Craze and Craze Xtreme (USSSA model) bats have a 13 inch barrel.
Craze bats are uniquely made with Black Array Carbon, a state of the art carbon fiber. Black Array Carbon provides the perfect balance of durability and feel, while offering explosive distance and ultimate control. All Craze bats are hand rolled in their initial development stage, before they are machine rolled in order for a smooth finish. A new angled seaming process eliminates any edge inconsistencies in the bat, which will considerably reduce any soft spots or cracks, denying ultimate performance.
During the research and development process of the Craze durability tests were conducted at Mizuno's revolutionary Sozo™ Studios. Craze bats were repeatedly tested, simulating the most extreme game-like conditions. The durability of the Craze proved to be extremely high, as the Craze bats show dramatic improvement from previous Mizuno models before any signs of damage occurred.
Mizuno has set the suggested retail price of the new Craze at $150.00, making it one of the best values on the slow pitch bat market. All Craze bats are non-warranty. Craze and Craze Xtreme slow pitch bats are 34 inches in length, and are available in four different weights (26oz., 27oz., 28oz., and 29oz.). The Craze ASA model is red and black, and the Craze Xtreme is yellow and black.
What makes a Mizuno Volleyball Shoe unique?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
We take great pride in the design of our volleyball shoes. Patented Wave technology combined with supportiveness for lateral movement are examples of features within our shoes that give your game an extra edge.
Are your bats used at the collegiate level?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
Yes! Mizuno has an impressive roster of NCAA FastPitch teams using our gear. In fact, the 2009 Washington Huskies used our Frenzy bat to propel them to a Women’s College World Series victory and National Championship.
Does Mizuno test its Fastpitch equipment with real athletes before it goes into the market?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
We test our products with some of the best athletes in the game. The insights and continuous feedback from Team USA superstars Jennie Finch and Natasha Watley are invaluable to us!
What is a Glove Steamer?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
Developed in Japan, Mizuno’s glove steamer device breaks in brand new leather ball gloves into game-read condition within a matter of minutes! Gloves are steamed and pocket shaped to your desired preference. Check out our Events page to find a Glove Steamer event near you!
Is it important to match my ball glove to the position I play?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
Yes! Each position requires different glove attributes. While it really comes down to personal preference, traditionally, the length of the glove’s webbing matches to a position (typically longer webs are for outfielder gloves while short lengths are for infield positions).
Hanging Up My Cleats
by Jennie Finch on August 26, 2010
Notice I didn’t use the word “Retire!” Retiring at 29 years old doesn’t really go. I am however hanging up my cleats. I hung up my red cleats with USA after the World Cup in July, and now its time for the pink and black to be hung up after this weekend. They will just be hung up, I am sure/hope I will un-hang them many times… for appearances, camps, clinics, Alumni games, and etc! Hopefully for next years MLB Celebrity All-Star game too!
I am overflowing with such gratitude! I am so incredibly thankful and blessed. My career has been more than I could of possibly dreamed of or even imagined! It has so super exceeded any and all expectations. It would be great however to go out with a NPF Championship this weekend, I’m not gonna lie! No, seriously… Thank you to all who have helped, encouraged, prayed, supported, cheered, loved, and more. I am so grateful and you the teammates, fans, competitors, Coaches, trainers, field crew, so many people have made it what it has been… Completely Amazing!
A lot of people have asked Why? Why now? Well my answer is I just feel it is time. My love of the game is still alive and well-Trust Me. Each summer has gotten harder and harder on us as a family though. Traveling 3-4 times a week can get a little crazy! Ace is 4 years old now and we would like to have more kids, Lord Willing. I want to thank Casey my husband for his constant support through out it all. He has encouraged me from day 1, never once not allowing me to do what I love! I look forward to the future and being there for him and supporting him in his career and life in general. Our families, my parents and the Daigles have been our backbones enabling us to do what we love and have helped us remain our sanity as a family from state to state and to country to country. They have done so very much we could never thank them enough.
These last few weeks playing have been pretty emotional knowing this is it… I have done this for 24 years. Softball is all I know and has been my life. It hasn’t been easy and it won’t be easy to hang them up. However, I look forward to the future and what God has in store for our family. I look forward to hopefully doing more within the sport with camps, clinics, and continuing the growth of this great game-NPF and all over the world. I am hanging up the cleats but will be grabbing them every now and then, I am hopeful it will be pretty often!
Some say its “ironic” my last weekend is in Sulphur, LA, the home of my husband but I believe its all in His plans! I am filled with gratitude and peace playing this weekend at the field that Casey’s uniform number and name are posted up high! I am looking forward to enjoying this weekend competing as hard as I ever have with my teammates- Go Bandits! Bringin’ it to the Bayou!
With a heart filled with gratitude, appreciation, & many thanks!
Continuing to Dream & Believe!
Day #6 & #7 in Caracas & Eating Venezuelan Style
by Jennie Finch on June 28, 2010
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!
Dreaming & Believing!
Day #4 & #5 at World's
by Jennie Finch on June 27, 2010
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!”
by Jennie Finch on June 24, 2010
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.
by Jennie Finch on June 22, 2010
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!
Dreaming & Definitely Believing!
A List of 27 for My Mom!
by Jennie Finch on May 11, 2010
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!