Cat Tales: Aug. 27 - Returning Home
Well, I figured it’s finally time to face reality. After all, life does go on. I don’t think I have ever felt the way I’ve felt for the last week. It’s been an emotional roller coaster to be honest. It’s hard to put all of this into words, so bear with me.
I’ll start with the game. Wow, I never expected it to end up the way it did. I’m not saying that because we’re that arrogant or cocky, but we really were ready for that game. We expected Ueno to throw, and we have seen her enough over the quad to be prepared. The way we had been playing, it felt like it was all going to come together for us. Personally, I wish I could take back two pitches. If I couldn’t take back two, I would take back the home run. I should have learned my lesson with the first rise ball. I just wish I could have done more.
When the game initially ended I wasn’t crying. I was in shock, disbelief and just down right disappointed in myself for not getting it done. Sure, it’s a team sport, but we all still felt an individual responsibility for the game. When we walked through the line to shake hands, my tears started falling and they came full blast. Coach Candrea stopped me to tell me he still loved me, and that there are far worse things that can happen in life. Then our director, Ronnie Isham, hugged me for what felt like 20 minutes. I just cried on his shoulder. Once we were all in the locker room, I think I cried in my chair for another 30 minutes. I can honestly say that is the longest and hardest I have ever cried. I felt like I let down the team, and none of us ever want to do that.
We had a day and half left in Beijing after the game, so we did the media circuit, which - I won’t lie - was hard. Yes, a silver medal is better than no medal, and the opportunity to be an Olympian is so many peoples’ dreams. But when you expect more, you do go through a period of emotional letdown.
It’s not that we’re selfish or ungrateful. I am thankful for the fact I was on this team, and that I have been to two Olympics. But just being there was not our goal. As we answered the questions, the hardest to swallow was everyone asking if we thought it was good for the sport’s reinstatement now that we lost. How can you ask an athlete to justify losing? We’re out there to compete; we don’t ever want to lose.
That night, we had a get together with all our families at the USA House. We enjoyed some down time, got last-minute things signed by the team, and listened to Ronine and Coach talk. Coach announced that he is through coaching internationally, which, to be honest, made me cry again. The best international coach should not go out on a losing note. We took pictures with each other one last time, knowing that soon we’ll be parting ways.
I flew home to Chicago on Saturday, and completely destroyed my condo with all my dirty laundry and stuff we got in Beijing. I also got a sinus infection or something on the way home, so I’ve been battling that, too. I did go into the office, more out of boredom than anything. I wasn’t expected to go in until I was ready, but as I said, life does go on. While I know there are worse things to happen in life, it doesn’t take away the present pain or disappointment. It really did happen; it’s really something to deal with no matter how big or small it may seem to someone else.
I don’t plan on the emotions of this to go away any time soon. I am sure I’ll be affected for a while, but I do know I can learn from this.
Thank you to everyone who has left all the kind messages on my blog. I appreciate all of y’all’s support and love. I could never imagine the number of responses you guys provided. While I don’t respond to them, I do read them, and you guys put a smile on my face when I was ready to read every message! Thank you!
Now what? Well, I’m doing a clinic in Utah this weekend, and then the real world is waiting. I’ll be coaching full time at DePaul this year and I’ll start grad school this quarter, too. And I’m continuing to play! Despite some photo captions that were floating out in cyber space, I did not leave my cleats on the field in Beijing! I’m not done yet!!
Until next time.... #8