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Monica Abbott Reflects On The Process And Ride She's Been On Leading Up To Tokyo

By Monica Abbott | July 05, 2021, 10 a.m. (ET)

Monica Abbott pitching against Japan on June 25, 2019 in Tokyo.

 

Hi Momma,
Hi Dad, 

It’s me, Monica, and I want to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you. What a year, what a process and a ride we have been on. But wow did we stay the course. 

I don’t think any of us ever thought softball would have taken us this far when we were down at the Bobby Sox fields, but here we are a whole lot of years later and you both are supporting and helping me prepare for my second run at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

It started humbly enough, following Jess, my sister and our next-door neighbors into Recreation Softball and just being a tag along. But you all made it a family affair. That made it so fun for me – from mom as the team manager and dad as an umpire to the Fosters ice cream cart! I really didn’t know how good I had it. 

From day one, your support and investment in us kids was incredible. Now, playing professionally for more than 14 years, I long for the days that you can be in the stands. Looking up to see the biggest smiles and knowing where you’re sitting because I hear Dad’s deep bellowing voice leading the cheers, and of course, my favorite moment, the post-game hug can’t be beat. But the games with family in the stands are few and far between as a professional. Now with COVID, we don’t have this chance so I’m writing you this letter. 

All those years ago when I was playing right field and scared of the ball or the times when I was nervous on the mound with Dad standing behind the plate not wanting to mess up – looking back now it seems so silly. Mom, how did you do it? No, literally. You saw me through countless road trips. With the Storm, I was pitching five or more games in a day and I would fall asleep the moment we were in the car on the ride home. Sorry, I couldn’t stay awake, but seriously, how did you do it?

Momma, you taught me the true meaning of working for what you want. If I wanted the pitching lesson, I had to practice. You made me tough and determined. If I didn’t have a ride, why not ride your bike to practice. Dad, when I took my first job at Fosters Freeze to help pay for pitching lessons, you helped me learn the value of hard work. 

You both taught me to be persistent and too most importantly to find a way when things didn’t go my way. These are some of the best lessons, a daughter could ask for. Thank you for being there from recreation ball to the pros. I. know we didn’t have a game plan for this journey. But we figured it out - together.

We had so many conversations and weighed decisions carefully with a bigger picture in mind. Dad - I know you knew the University of Tennessee would be the best place for me to develop and to create a career in softball. At 18, I needed freedom to grow and become the person I am today. Thank you for empowering me to do that. 

But at 35 and now an adult, I need you both more than ever. Sometimes, I feel like all I do is train, other times I feel like I’m overwhelmed with the different responsibilities I have. 

Momma - your direction, love and support mean more now than ever. The amount of love and patience you poured into me helped me continue playing year after year even when softball wasn’t an Olympic sport. Thank you for always seeing the impossible in me and motivating me to go for it once it became an Olympic sport again. 

You both are my rock, my motivation and my determination. 

Dad - before this journey started you wrote me a letter. I have carried it with me, ever since that day, and I still draw so much strength from it:


The truth is we took it one pitch at a time and now it’s the bottom of the seventh.
We’re ahead by one run, but the counts full. There are two outs. And there are runners at second and third. What do I say at the conference, on the mound of life? 

Treat life like the gift it is
Every impression is like a pitch, you don’t know how it’s received until it’s caught
Every person is like a batter; you know nothing about them until they bat.
Every day is like an inning, you pour yourself into it and know not what you’ve accomplished until it’s over.
Every life is like a game, you always know what you have done but never know the outcome until you look down from the floors of heaven. 

In the end the congratulations will be few and far between. 
And your joy will be in watching your prodigy’s accomplishments knowing you were blessed with the opportunity to participate in the hardest championship game they will ever play…life. 


With all a daughters love, 
Monica

Monica Abbott

 

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