Every year, for as long as I can remember, I couldn’t wait for the end of May for one reason: the NCAA Women’s College World Series. Every single year while watching these games on ESPN, I can remember dreaming of myself playing on that stage one day. I remember thinking to myself how cool it would be to play in the WCWS. Then, in 2009 with my travel team, I got the opportunity to play on the Hall of Fame field for a tournament. While I was there, the only thing I could think about was wanting to play there on the big stage in college. In high school I made many “timelines of life” (my life goals and plans), and they all included going to the WCWS.

            Today, my twenty teammates and I are headed to Oklahoma City for just that: to play in the WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES. It still has not hit me yet that I am going to be on that field as a collegiate PLAYER… and I’m not exactly sure when it will J I’m very blessed to be in this position, but I couldn’t have ever done it alone. Everyday, I’m thankful for my family, coaches, teammates, and support systems that have pushed me to be where I am in this time of my life and to be apart of this amazing program. When I think about it, I just smile. All those years of wanting to be those girls, the ones who were playing in the World Series, and now I get to play with my twenty teammates there as one of those girls I dreamed about being so many years ago.

 

            My team and I are looking forward to getting into OKC today. We even got our own private chartered flight. Tuesday and Wednesday will consist of some study halls, practices, interviews, and a banquet. When we aren’t practicing, our team should still be able to keep ourselves busy with schoolwork, as the quarter system has us in classes for two more weeks. However, when Thursday hits, we play our first game against UCLA on Thursday at 6:30 PT! It should be a great PAC-12 matchup, respectively. I find myself thinking about Thursday a lot, and as I write this, I honestly can’t stop smiling.

            Coaches keep telling us how the game doesn’t change, because it’s still the same exact game we play every single day. I believe that to be completely true. Once I heard the very prestigious Sue Enquist say, “It’s the same game, it just has its party dress on.” I always think about that, because really, nothing changes about the game. Whether there are 10 people in the stands, or ten thousand people in the stadium, the game stays the same. I am so excited for these next few days in OKC to do what I love with my favorite people.

            On another note, I can’t believe my freshman year of college is coming to an end. I have packed almost everything up in my dorm room, and it’s weird to think I really only have a few days left in Eugene after we get back from Oklahoma City.  I am very fortunate to be able to say I have had a great freshman year at Oregon, and that I am truly surrounded by genuine human beings here that make it so great.

On Sunday, June 7, I will go back to Oklahoma City to live my other life-long dream: Play for USA Softball. I got my box of gear a few weeks ago, and seeing my USA jerseys and all of the USA Softball apparel was such an indescribably special feeling. I am looking forward to and am extremely proud to be wearing USA across my chest in the near future. This week, straight into this summer has so much in store for me playing the game I love and I cannot wait.

            But first, my team and I have some unfinished business in our season. I’m ecstatic to take the field on Thursday with my teammates. As the days come one after the other, I put on the Duck’s uniform and I realize even more deeply how grateful I am to be a University of Oregon Duck. Best of luck to all the teams competing in the WCWS this week.

Go Ducks and Go USA

Jenna Lilley #00 , #2