What a year 2009 was, with no doubt the highlight being the birth of little Caleb Ashton. We spent the holidays up with my little sister and parents in Bend, Oregon. It was a beautiful white Christmas (my first!) and it was so fun to watch Caleb play with his cousin Kyler and spend that much time with family. We played in the snow, saw deer eat in the front yard and of course, I hit and worked out every day we were there =) Why did I work out every day over the holidays you might ask? Because we had tryouts for the 2010 National softball team January 4-7. We had my sister throwing batting practice, Adam hitting me fly balls and my dad critiquing with the video camera. Pretty much a typical Mendoza family Christmas and New Years =).
We flew straight from Oregon down to San Diego for tryouts. Can I even tell you how GOOD it felt to get back out on the field and see my teammates again? There is no way to describe how great it feels to play a sport you love after taking time away from it, but for those of you that LOVE this game (or anything for that matter), I hope you never take for granted the days you get to spend at practice, working hard to get better and spending time with your teammates. I was soooo NERVOUS. Wow, you would have thought I was 18 years old trying out for my first Olympic team. I just wanted to prove so bad (to myself more than anything) that I could have a baby and come back. As hard as I worked, I still was not sure if I was going to make a fool out of myself. Well the greatest thing happened. Probably one of my top 3 moments of my career happened … (drum roll) … I hit a HOME RUN my first at bat back. What?!?! It was like a dream. All I wanted to do was just make contact, and BOOM right center field and I am not kidding, I had tears running around the bases. I know that might sound silly to a lot of you, but I care so much about this game, but more importantly the balance of being able to create this amazing little boy and still live your dreams of playing a game you love. Women (and men too!) can do anything they put their mind to, and I can not express the excitement I felt to be able to hit a ball like that after all that happened this last year of 2009. Definitely just as cool as any other career softball moments.
After the tryouts, I spoiled myself by joining friends up in Mammoth for a weekend of snowboarding and watching the US Olympic Snowboarding trials. SO COOL! I haven’t snowboarded in 3 years because of the Olympics and then being pregnant, and it was so nice to carve through fresh powder up in the sunny mountain of Mammoth. I also saw my first half pipe competition, and it was an Olympic qualifier. I was able to see both Gretchen Bleiler and Shaun White win to solidify their sport for the Olympic games next month! Congrats to them both! Gretchen and I both have the same agent, Amy Stanton, so we have hung out a few times before, and to see her perform on the half pipe like she did … Wow. She has some serious guts to do all those flips, corkscrews and 900’s. Talk about respect for other sports, I am super jealous!
I am excited for the next month, I head back up to Bend, Oregon this weekend for a clinic, then out to Uncasville, CT to speak with Finch and Bustos at the Mohegan Coaches clinic, then off to Spokane, WA to prepare the Olympic figure skaters for the Olympics, work a softball clinic and then off to the Olympics in mid-February. Home? What’s that? So excited to see the Olympic games from the other side, working for Yahoo sports. Don’t forget about National Girls and Women in Sports Day this Feb 3rd! I will be in DC with the Women’s Sports Foundation celebrating and making progress for more girls and women to play sports!
Talk to you all soon and Happy 2010!!
Love it, Dream it, Live it!
Jessica Mendoza #2