So that saying, “everything happens for a reason”, is a phrase I totally believe in. No matter what the situation is, I always know it’s for a purpose. For my experiences this last month, I know there was a build up that was longer than a month, but it was the best feeling knowing it all came full circle.
For obvious reasons, sports have always been a part of my life. Being a competitive gymnast since I was seven and up until college, I’ve had my fair share of what it’s like to win. Whether it was individually or next to the teammates on the Arkansas Gymnastics team, each time had a different feeling to the win.
After retiring from gymnastics after my sophomore year, I sort of felt like my glory days were over. Since I had been competing in gymnastics for over half my life, I never expected to have a winning feeling again. Because of my competitive nature, I knew sport would be the industry I worked in, mainly to try and fill that void of competition I no longer had in my life.
Because of my early and unexpected retirement, it allowed me to build my resume before applying for grad school. Without those jobs, who knows if I would have been accepted into this program, and who knows where I’d be now. As much as I didn’t want to realize it, I knew my early retirement had a meaning.
After moving here and being a gymnastics coach in the Bay Area, I still had yet to experience winning again. Last season I worked with the Oakland Raiders and they as well did not have a winning season. Then, I worked with Stanford women’s gymnastics team and even though they qualified to nationals, I didn’t travel with the team to witness it. I still had that missing feeling.
When Vinny Espinosa from my class talked to me about his job with an independent minor league baseball team, I sort of thought the league he was explaining was a joke. It’s not affiliated with a major league team and the guys were already graduated from college, so in all honesty I thought it was sort of like an adult league.
I really didn’t expect to be as attached to this job just because it had such a short time period. But, being around the same people for 90 or more days, those feelings changed. When I first started with the San Rafael Pacifics, there was hype that they’d be the best team in the league. After a few games and seeing outings of the other teams, I started to believe that they could be the best by the end of the season.
After winning the first half of the season I started to look forward to the end knowing I would get to be a part of the championship. Even though I knew it meant the season would be over, I was really looking forward to it. With about a week left of play, it was looking as if the Pacifics would win the second half even before the season was over.
Of course with baseball, or any sport for that matter, anything can happen. That’s the beauty of sport in my eyes. No matter the amount of talent on a team, the preparation, a ranking or record, it all comes down to that moment. Sure enough, it came down to the last game of the regular season before the Pacifics won it all.
The anxiety and nervousness I felt that whole weekend was unreal. As an athlete I rarely got nervous, if anything competing was fun. Getting to perform and show what I had been training for was always a blast. But now that I’m behind the scenes and can no longer participate, I was sort of a wreck. Maybe it was because I knew I could have that winning feeling again and I wanted it really bad.
After losing two games in a row that could have clinched the championship, the Pacifics finally won it all in the most dramatic baseball game I’ve ever witnessed. They won 11 – 8 and the teams battled back and forth the entire game. Each inning had its own drama that made it that much more exciting. As I sat in the dugout for the last inning, I just knew we were going to win. I videoed the last out, that transitioned into a dog pile, and then to the team popping champagne.
Everything had finally come full circle for me and I was finally a part of that winning feeling again. It may have taken three years since that last feeling, but it was well worth the wait. It sounds silly, but that was the energy and moment I needed to keep me going. Everyone has those ‘stuck in a rut’ times and for me I felt like lately I had just been going through the motions.
The Pacifics reminded me that winning tastes so sweet. Being a part of this win made me realize why I fell in love with sports in the first place: working hard, seeing results and being considered a champion.
With only eight months left until I graduate, I feel as if I’ve started to realize why everything in my past has led me to where I am now. Through the ups and downs, sports were always the common denominator. More importantly, USF has opened so many doors in the business world, but even more importantly, it helped me grow as a person. Without my retirement, I probably wouldn’t be attending USF. Without USF, I wouldn’t have worked for the Pacifics. Without the Pacifics, who knows when I would have experienced another winning feeling.
Sometimes it takes a moment like this to reflect on why things happen the way they do. With eight months left until graduation, I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I know they’ll put me in the place I’m supposed to be.
|2011 Regional Champions - University of Arkansas|
|2014 San Rafael Pacifics - Pacific Association Champions|