Leading up to the International Softball Federation IX Jr. Women's World Championship (19-and-under), December 6-17, 2011, in Cape Town, South Africa, USA Softball Junior Women's National Team members Cheyenne Cordes, an outfielder from Fairfield, Calif., and Chelsea Goodacre, a catcher from Temecula, Calif., will be blogging biweekly for USASoftball.com.
April 21, 2011Work toward dreams with 'unmatched passion and dedication'
Other people may not have had high expectations for me... but I had high expectations for myself. - Shannon Miller, most decorated gymnast in U.S. history
As I sit at the computer and try to figure out what to blog about, I find myself sometimes drifting off thinking about the incredible journey I have been on over the last few years.
Softball has given me such incredible opportunities; I have been to places and seen things that I would have never experienced without softball, my best and most cherished friends are softball players and I have learned many life lessons which I know will be invaluable to me as I continue my journey. The time I spend with my mom and dad, driving to games, tournaments and practices is sometimes our version of “family time”which I love every moment of. (Notice I said “to games” and not “home from games” this is not an oversight, it is because the drives home are usually a play-by-play recount of “What I should have done” and “Why did you do that’s” – thank goodness for ipods with earphones).
When I tell others outside of my softball world about my journey, which includes broken ankles a broken wrist, stitches in the forehead and more scrapes, bruises and cuts than I can remember, the countless hours I spend practicing daily, weekly and for so many years, the comments I usually get are "It doesn't sound fun!" and "It takes up all your free time!" My response to them is usually something like, “I can’t explain it, I just love this game”, but that never seems to fully convince them and they usually just figure I am either crazy or my dad makes me play this game. I play softball because I can’t imagine NOT playing softball. All the opportunities that this great game has given me are all “icing on the cake” and although these accomplishments were always goals for me to strive for, they were never owed to me for my hard work; I was just one of the lucky ones to get noticed.
Recently I had the opportunity to catch and have batting practice with USA Softball Men's Fast Pitch National Team pitcher Travis Price. After seeing the incredible movement and unbelievable speed of his pitches, I am now a huge fan of the men's fast pitch game, specifically our USA Softball Men's National Team! If you have not had the opportunity to see one of the men's games, I highly recommend it! Just having this experience and being able to catch theses incredible moving rise balls and drop balls made me appreciate the men’s game tremendously.
After a few times practicing together, I was not only able to just catch his pitches, I finally progressed to framing his pitches (which again, words can’t describe what a tremendous feat this is). These pitches break at the last possible moment and they break a LOT – Oh, and they are coming at me at 80 mph (yes that is correct and is not a typo, 80 Miles Per Hour). Batting practice, with him throwing pitches for me to hit, is an entirely different story – but like most anything you do, focused practice makes you better (focused batting practice and several hundred pitched balls to me, I can say that I am much better). His incredible and impossible to detect change up still fools me. Thank you, Travis!
As I was writing this blog, I received a friend request on Facebook from a young girl in Kansas. I messaged her asking“Do I know you?” She replied with “We have never met, but it's my dream to play for USA Softball and I look up to you." Wow, how can I write in a blog how that truly makes me feel? I was honored to have this young softball girl, whom l have never met - want to be my friend because I am following my dream and lucky enough to have these opportunities.
This brings up something to consider, how important it is for those of you who are in positions where kids look up to you, to be responsible with Facebook. It may not just be your friends reading the comments you post or others post on your wall, there may be a young girl in Kansas or other parts of the world who wants to be just like you reading your entries and looking at your pictures. Always stop and think, what do your posts say about your character?
To my new friend in Kansas and those young girls who dream that they will play for ASA/USA Softball, competing with and against the best, I leave you with the only way I know about reaching your dreams: Work hard, stay focused, understand and expect sacrifices along the way and strive to achieve your goals and dreams with unmatched passion and dedication. This is what helped make my dreams come true!