Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hate Mail

If you have ever sent me hate mail, congratulations, you're about to get your moment in the spotlight. Just assuming that you need attention if you're sending people ridiculous messages. 
Whenever I tell people that I receive mean messages or comments, people tend to not fully believe me. I mean, come's women's softball. Who could be that passionate about the sport to send a rude message to 20-something year old girl??? I mean, I guess it's kind of good that people are paying attention and feel passionate enough to send the message......(looking for positives here, people).
Anyways, internet trolls have become far too abundant and it seems to be a sign that our generation is in a slow decline of proper social interactions. Far too many people can hide behind a computer screen and never have to face their victim face-to-face. (Ok, maybe victim is a bit strong of a word, but you get the point). People who lack social skills and any sort of guts to say what they want to an actual person can easily sit and type their attacks out. 
So, this post is dedicated to you! Congratulations!!! I mean, it's obvious that you're bitter about some things. Maybe you got cut from your JV basketball team in the 5th grade. Maybe you were the kid that was consistently picked last for dodgeball. (Don't worry, that was me too!). Hell, maybe you even got dumped by your internet girlfriend/boyfriend, who you never met in person because you didn't feel like talking to him/her in person, in fear that you wouldn't have the time to think up your clever responses that you do when you're typing on your computer. 
It honestly takes a lot to get me upset. You have to really know me in order to get a true reaction. Only my friends know how to stab me in the heart, and luckily I have really really good friends, so that never happens. So, for anyone who sends these messages, I'm sorry but you only provided me with some fleeting entertainment.
I only picked a few because, to be honest, a lot of them are just really stupid and pointless. Many of them have to do with me and my illegal pitching, which unless you are an avid softball fan, have no idea what that entails. Basically, I was the poster child for "crowhopping" during my junior year at Michigan. My drag foot comes off the ground by just a hair, which is illegal. Honestly, it doesn't give me any real advantage (why it's illegal). I actually started pitching faster when I changed my motion to drag.  However, umpires cracked down that year and I became the ring leader in circus softball games. The worst one was Michigan vs. Texas where I was called 38 times for an illegal pitch. Illegal pitches lead to a subsequent ball on the batter and if there are runners on base, they get to advance. The fact that we only lost that game 2-0 was a miracle. Anyways, a lot of the messages I got involved this illegal pitching and old men telling me I should be ashamed of myself for not correcting it. Just to quickly address them: I pitched the same way since I was 12 years old. That's millions of pitches thrown. And you're asking me to correct it within a couple of weeks??? Clearly you have zero knowledge of how muscle memory works or just how difficult (if not impossible) that is to do. So, thanks for the branding of being the illegal pitcher, y'all. Glad to be the first one there was (complete sarcasm).

Let the fun begin!!!

This first one was a comment left on a YouTube video (that was not made by me). If you haven't seen the video of a young man, named Thomas, nervously make his way through a date proposal, I think you should find the time to watch it:

First things first. No, I did not go on a date with him. I've been called heartless by some of my friends for not following up with him. But, I'm not up to turning him down. He seems fragile as it is. So, I just kind of let it fade out. He never contacted me directly - I found out we were Facebook friends after I had the video sent to me by one of my Twitter followers. 
But, one of the comments left for the video was:

"Jordan Taylor looks like a dude. I'll bet she doubles as a LB for the football team. If you're going to ask out a girl on least make it a hot one."

Well, damn sir. With a username of "moreNLIGHTENDthanYOU" I'm going to have to assume that he is, in fact, more intelligent than I am, so there is really no use arguing. Although, I will point out the fact that you misspelled "enlightened." You're missing a few E's. I will also point out that I would make the most pathetic linebacker that the sport of football has ever seen. Trust me, I know I'm a big girl. I have curves and enough ass to spare for 3 people. AND DAMN PROUD OF IT, thank you very much. But a linebacker? Have you ever seen a football game?! Those guys are huge. If you're truly comparing me to that, than you're just a douche. And you would probably be the worst recruiting scout football has ever known. But, I'm going to assume since you are so intelligent and enlightened, that you spend many hours in the library and haven't actually ever seen a football game. I would make an awful excuse for a football player. Although, I will still gladly kick your ass.
And p.s. word to the wise, so obviously you, mr. enlightened, making fun of a girl's weight is just plain dumb. Especially an athlete. 

This one actually got me. It was sent to me after my last game in a University of Michigan uniform. After our #10 ranked team was upset by Kentucky in Regionals. It was one of those upsets that was just flat out, not supposed to happen. We were way too good of a team to not make it through to at least Super-Regionals. Alas, that's what happened. And much of the reason for us not making it to the next round can be placed on me. I was pitching one of the best games of my life. We had a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 7th. The first batter battled for about 12 pitches before putting a change-up an inch fair over the right field line. Apparently that was the last "game-worn" ball and I was issued a succession of brand-new softballs. For anyone who doesn't know softball, pitching with a brand-new ball is really difficult. It's slick and hard to grip. What happened from there was 3 walks, a strikeout, and 1 seeing-eye blooper from a girl who was batting a buck 70 on the season. This was one of those moments where everything was working against us, against me, and I simply didn't rise to the challenge. After that catastrophic 7th inning and end to my career, I came back to this message:

"Well at least you made Michigan semi-proud. Then again you were kind of like the rest of the sports, a glimpse of hope, then you crash and burn. If only you hadn't choked, you could've been one of the best. Sorry your last game in a Michigan uniform had to be a failure."

To say I was a hot mess after the loss would be a severe understatement. I didn't make it off the field before tears started to roll. Luckily Hutch was there to meet me after the chalk, because my knees basically gave out. To me, I had let down my entire team and not only broke their hearts, but shattered my own. I was not consonable. No one could get me to stop crying. It took me about 30 minutes to even gain the courage to walk through the courtyard of all the fans. I was offered to be escorted around the back of the building by our coaches. However, I knew that I owed these amazing fans a huge debt of gratitude and thank them one last time. Once in the lockeroom, my planned out apology to the team just turned into speechlessness. I had no words that could make up for what I hadn't done for them. If you think you could cut me any deeper than I already was, than you are sorely mistaken. Criticizing athletes usually has no impact, because we are our biggest critics. Unfortunately, since we are in the "entertainment" department, people find it necessary to project their opinions onto us. Even more unfortunate is that I was called a "choke artist" by a fellow Wolverine athlete. Not anyone on the softball team. For this one special person, I reserve my most deathly of the stare downs. Level 10 stare down - a you-would-be-obliterated-in-a-million-pieces-if-looks-could-kill type of stare down.

This last one was a message that was sent to me following Team USA's most recent World Cup win. Our team was brand new to each other and even younger than the year before. The median age is 23, with over half of our team still playing for their college teams. We have a lot of fun together, constantly making light of situations in the dugout. It's just who we are. We have a bunch of goofballs - mainly Sam Fischer, Amanda Chidester, Jackie Traina, and Keilani Ricketts. Just because we have fun does not mean that we aren't focused, or take our positions on the team seriously.  


The caps lock really made me feel your passion. Really, as soon as I saw those caps lock, I sat straight up in my seat and came to attention like I was being commanded by a drill sergeant. Great touch. Now, I'm going to assume by some random spaces and misspelled words that this caps lock was not by choice. Rather, I'm going to take a wild guess and say you were drunk when you wrote this message. Somehow, the caps lock got hit and maybe the keys wouldn't stop moving for long enough for you to focus and find the button again. I'm also going to assume you were drunk because who in a sober mind decides to send an angry, all caps locked message to a girl who just won a World Cup title. A girl who pitched 1 inning of this game. Not sure why I was the target of your aggression. Perhaps my name was the easiest to remember (shoutout to Marge and Johnny for a great name!). Maybe you just saw my face on TV and thought that girl needs to be yelled at. RIGHT NOW! And as for our team lacking looks......really sir? You don't find a single person on our team to be attractive. I seriously doubt you have Playboy bunnies or models running around your apartment (or your double wide). Our team definitely doesn't consist of these types of girls, but we are in no way ugly. Thanks for the attempted self-esteem dip, though. Like really??? A 7?! You wouldn't give any of our girls a 7??? Might I remind you, too, that we are PLAYING SOFTBALL. Aka, were sweating our asses off in the Oklahoma heat and diving around dirt and grass. You try to keep your make-up and pony tail in perfect shape. Let me tell you, sir, it's REALLY DIFFICULT!

We're all so ugly, I can't handle it....

I wish I could say I was making these up. I promise I'm not. I really do receive messages like this. Hopefully you found as much entertainment as I did out of them. Obviously, the alternative would be for me to get upset and that would just be letting the writers get what they want! I'd rather not let that happen. It's just way too much fun to stay happy and ruin their plans ;)

So, if you were planning on sending a hateful message, I'd avoid wasting your time. Or do. Either way, it really makes no difference to me!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dentist Trip

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be living in Japan, I would have thought they were crazy. If that same person had told me that I would not only be living there, but going to the dentist to get operated on, I probably would have slapped that person across the face. 
But, here I am. Living in the Japan.....and going to the dentist....
To say I was petrified would be an understatement. The pain in my tooth, however, was not something I could delay any longer. So, basically against my will, I was dragged to the dentist. I would say dragged kicking and screaming, but I think as soon as I hit the age of 10 it became socially unacceptable, unfortunately. 
Arriving at the dentist, however, I was in complete shock. It was by far the nicest building I had ever been in for any sort of medical reason. It looked brand new. I immediately had to hide a quick laugh at the assistants uniforms. As in the hospitals too, the nurses and dental assistants wear a similar uniform. Think World War II nurses uniform: apron, double-pointed hat that's bobby-pinned on, all white. I was led back to the room through various sliding doors - sort of scary, actually - and into an even nicer room. Everything was beyond any technology I had ever seen. I felt like I had actually time-traveled to the future. I'm not exaggerating. If I have to go again, I'll try to sneak a picture. 
Obviously, the dentist did not speak a single word of English. I have since taught him "OW," "rinse," and a few expletives here and there (whoops). My poor translator had to sit in the room and witness the entire operation, which was pretty painful. She also had to translate for me, which was probably not very pleasant with me hating the dentist with a fiery passion. Before we had even started, the dentist showed me, on a jumbo screen TV, exactly what he was going to be doing. A graphic, cartoon version of all the drilling, ripping out of roots, cleaning, and filling of the tooth. Oh, yeh, forgot to mention...this "toothache" in fact needed a root canal. The dentist did not understand this terminology when I asked him if that was what he was going to be doing. So, in my slow panic and realization of what was about to go down, my translator had to look up how to translate the word. After I got confirmation on the translated word, I basically cried like a 2 year old. A slight temper tantrum may have occurred if I hadn't just come from an all-day practice and was completely exhausted. 
Obviously, the worst part is the novacain shot, and things are typically good-to-go from there. I have an extreme fear and hatred for needles. I'm pathetic and I will fully claim & accept that. Every time I have to get a blood test, I almost pass out from working myself up so much. I somehow put myself through getting a tattoo on my foot. Still not quite sure how I did that. Although my friends that were with me still make fun of me to this day for almost passing out and for some reason yelling to get me a Diet Coke. Why I thought a Diet Coke would help, I really have no idea. At least I provided entertainment for the lovely man covered in face tattoos and piercings who did my tattoo. 
So, I was bracing myself for this painful stabbing of my mouth, when something magical happened. With my eyes squeezed shut and pinching the skin on my leg (trying to trick my pain receptors. Never works), I suddenly heard a song start playing. And I recognized it immediately. "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Sleeping Beauty was being projected out of the needle and into my eardrums. Disney my worst enemy, the needle. Amazing. I was in such shock and awe, that I completely forgot that I was being stabbed with a small sharp object. I looked at this playing of Disney music as a sign that this was to be my best dentist experience ever. Then when my translator told me about 45 minutes later that I was done, I was positive that I was right. That lasted about . 2 seconds. I was quickly informed that I would have to come back to finish the procedure. Wait....what?? 
"You mean they don't do it all at once?"
"Uh, no. We have to come back."
"Ok....what are we doing next time?"
"Well, next time they will clean it. Then we have to come back.."
"Makiko! How many times do we have to come back?!"
"Umm, I'm not sure. Probably like 4 or 5"
"I hate Japanese dentists."

7. That's how many visits I ended up having. Some were as good as the first one. Two memorable trips, I left crying and in a lot of pain. These would be the times that I accidentally taught the Japanese dentist a few American cuss words. 
For 7 visits, and clearly a huge procedure, I paid under $200. Seriously. That's ridiculous. And, he did a much better job that any dentist I had back home. I'm going to chalk it up to the overall Japanese cultural trend of being precise, very thorough, and overall obsessively clean. He even offered to fix a filling that I already had. He said he could do much better. Okay, cocky bastard, we get're way better at your job that Americans. 
Obviously, I'm going back.
Sorry American dentists, but y'all are getting beaten out by the Japanese. Who would've thought?!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


If you're friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you've probably been bombarded with my statuses about Childhood Cancer and my new charity. If not, here's a bit of a background.

Each year with Michigan Softball, we would raise money for Susan G. Komen through fundraising in the fall through a Makes Strides for Breast Cancer walk and in the spring through our annual pink game. After I was done playing, I wanted to keep helping out with fundraising. Last fall, I ran an event called "So You Think You Can Hit?" For a donation to Susan G. Komen, people could step in the box at Alumni Field and try to hit off of me. For years and years I had to listen to these big macho men tell me how they could go yard off me and make me look like a little league pitcher. Well, macho men, it is thanks to your bragging that this idea was spawned. The event was very successful, raising around $1000 in under an hour. I even got to pitch to Hutch....she hit a grounder and looked beyond shocked. She's still got it, ladies and gentlemen! My favorite part was afterwards, I went on Facebook and saw a girl post about getting a hit off of me. 1. It was a blooper in the infield 2. I didn't know I was friends with her on Facebook 3. I got to see her friends comment about how I must not be that good. Overall, quite entertaining to see. 
Anyways, some time had passed and I had painted a few pieces for the silent auction that's done after the pink game in spring. I had posted a few pictures of my artwork on this website, and someone - named "anonymous" (literally), had commented asking if I was involved with any charities. He or she had suggested that I follow the suit of a NHL player who auctions off artwork and donates all the money earned. Being a creative person overall, this set my mind into crazy motion and I instantly started thinking of different ways that I could raise money. That transformed into my looking into creating my own charity. At first, I was interested in raising money for breast cancer. It was only when a family friend and Michigan Superwoman, Ruthann, suggested Mott Children's Hospital. A lightbulb didn't just go off, it exploded. I had been involved with Mott from my freshman year at Michigan. Through a program called From the Heart, a group of student-athletes visits the Children's Hospital every Thursday. A lot of times, our conditioning and practice prevented us from going, but every once in awhile we would get done just in time. About 4 of us would rush to get showered and head over with seconds to spare. The program is really great and everyone I know that is apart of it expresses how much of a positive impact the visits are for them. It was started by Lloyd Carr as a way to humble and ground his athletes. Naturally, it spread from the football team to across all the athletic teams. 
To see these kids fighting for their lives when they should be living a carefree life is very tough to see. But, they have the most amazing light in them. They don't take anything for granted. They love every second of life and what it has to offer. We would get to interact with these kids, who most of the time were so drained from surgery or chemo that they could only talk for a couple minutes. We got to hear their stories from the parents or guardians who drop everything in their lives to take care of their child. I think that's a big aspect that gets overlooked, is it doesn't just affect the child, it completely alters his or her family's life as well. They have to battle insurance companies to get their child the treatment he or she needs, while balancing trying to keep a job and take care of their kid. We encountered a lot of heart wrenching stories across the years. But, at first glance, they are the most loving, carefree families. Everyone laughs more, cries more, and takes everything in stride. I can say without question, some of the most amazing people I've met in my life were in that hospital. 
So, this summer, after many hours of research and meetings, I started FIGHT. 100% of the money I make from various events and sales will go to the pediatric cancer unit of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. 
I decided to stick with the cancer theme because of personal reasons. I've lost too many relatives to the awful disease, including my dad 3 years ago. He had been in remission after battling the previous few years. After going in for a check-up for his white blood cell count, they discovered that most of his body had been taken up by the disease. I had just gotten back to school for my junior year, so flying to him was a bit difficult. I had a flight booked for that weekend, but I received a phone call from my mom, ironically while I was at the hospital with my friend, that Tuesday. We were told he wouldn't make it through the next day and I left the next morning. My dad passed away about an hour after we had arrived at the hospice. I'll be forever thankful that I made it in time to say goodbye.
I know you're probably thinking, "why is this girl telling us this personal information...." I want you to understand that this passion for my charity comes from the heart. I didn't start this on a whim and I'm not only slightly interested. As with most things I do, I am completely passionate about this and will strive for it to be successful. 
T-shirts for sale at
I started up a website: There, you can find a link to information about FIGHT and Mott Children's Hospital. As soon as I return from my season in Japan, I will be (hopefully) touring with the So You Think You Can Hit? along with skills clinics. If I receive more than 30 requests for a certain city, I'm guaranteeing that I will make it to that spot. I will also be doing auctions for artwork throughout the year. If you want a custom glove, you can ship it to me and I will paint whatever design you want on it. It's a misconception that I had a custom glove made for me in my Michigan years. I actually painted it on myself. I can paint whatever you want - within reason. I can also do custom artwork. All prices are negotiable and all proceeds will go to charity. On the website, I'm also selling t-shirts and hair ribbons. There is also a place where you can just donate money. 
I know everyone probably receives notifications and such asking for money. I can assure you that these children need this money. There's not only the medical expenses but the little things that people don't think about. Parents losing their jobs to be with their children, possible other children in the family who need to be looked after, groceries, babysitting, treatments that aren't covered by insurance, driving back and forth from hospitals, toys and games to keep the children from going insane in the hospital, the list goes on and on. If you don't feel like donating, there are other ways that you can volunteer. Simply googling children's cancer will link you to a variety of websites that offer ways to volunteer and help these families. 
This is my public plea for anyone reading this to DO SOMETHING! 
Doesn't have to be donating to my charity. But, donate, whether it's your time or money or just love towards these kids and their families. Nothing is too small! 
xoxo Jordan 

Summer 2012

Amanda "Chiddy' Chidester and myself.
First time there's ever been 2 Wolverines on a USA team!
I really cannot assign one word to this summer. Amazing. Revealing. Evolutionary. Best summer of softball of my life. And it really was. I've never had as much fun playing the sport that I love as I did with this USA team. Maybe it was because we were all young and still retain most of our carefree personality. Maybe it was because we just clicked as a team. Maybe it was because we knew that we needed to be together as a group to be successful. I was ecstatic to be joined by my fellow wolverine, Amanda Chidester. She worked so hard in her last two years at Michigan to be noticed nationwide, and it paid off in a spot on the USA roster. We were sad to lose our fellow "bloody idiot" - nickname given to the pitchers by our own Mike White, resident New Zealander and pitching coach extraordinaire. Whitney Canion from Baylor & member of 2011 USA team went down with a knee injury in the middle of the college season. We were sad to be without our 4th member. Luckily, we were blessed with Jackie Traina as an addition to our staff.
"Bloody Idiots"

Once this summer season started, it was relentless. We reported to Ohio for selection camp and training on June 9th and only had a 3-day break between then and July 23rd. We went pretty much nonstop from Ohio to World Championships. As I said before, this team really clicked and it didn't take too much time for us to gel on the field. Our off-field antics were also amazing. There was never a dull moment with this group.

Our ever-entertaining van
Our team took vans to the games once we hit Canada (aka the entire month of July). Our van was the best, naturally. Sam Fischer, Jackie Traina, Amanda Chidester, Chelsea Thomas, Ashley Holcombe-Bell aka Mama Holcs, and myself were crammed into a Dodge minivan and we loved every second. Our highlights included singing "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction - and when I say singing, I mean blasting to the maximum capacity the speakers could obtain and singing out of our rolled down windows. One particular morning, we had the opportunity to serenade the Australian team that was waiting for the pedestrian sign. Gonna go out on a limb here and assume they also assigned the nickname "Bloody Idiots" to our group. We had a lovely early AM trip to Vancouver and Lululemon. We will probably never hear the end of Sam Fischer's disdain for us introducing her to the brand. Last year it was Whitney Canion who fell victim to the ultra-comfortable but ultra-expensive brand. This year, Sam was the victim. I haven't checked in with her to see her Lululemon stock contributions since then, but I'm going to guess she's since contributed to the company's well-being.
Showing off our Lululemon purchases

During World Championships, our van and honorary member, Jessica Shults, decided to film a music video. You may have seen it.....if you haven't I have graciously linked it below. There seems to be a trend in sports teams recording themselves dancing to popular songs. Going to give a very simple explanation: we are bored. There's only so much training you can do in each day before you have completely exhausted yourself. After a quick nap (and some Starbucks) our restored energy levels would be back up, but our muscles would not be up to the challenge. So, many athletes - usually out of season and without homework - decide to lend their talents in another field.....lip-syncing, dancing, overall goofing off. Were natural performers, obviously, having to play/perform in front of thousands of people on a regular basis. Also, we like to laugh at ourselves, so we thought you would too. You're welcome. No, it doesn't bother us that you say "wow, those girls are idiots" or "maybe they should stick to softball." We are sticking to softball, thank you very much. Hence, us dedicating our lives to it.

Chelsea and I in our grandma pin curls
For World Championships, our van had a routine set from day 1. Leave hotel, get Starbucks (not only by my request ;)), head over to Subway, then back to the hotel, and off to our games. Literally, we did this every day. I'm almost positive that people always got the same sandwich, too. Were athletes, what can I say, were products of repetition and superstition. I had the pleasure of having Chelsea Thomas as a roommate. Pitchers are generally good roommates since we tend to have the same ridiculous rituals and like things a certain way. We both took the stereotypical hour to get ready for our game. Chelsea's ritual included about a can of hairspray each day. Mine included doing my make-up and hair differently. The pitchers all became pretty close on the team, and we were always there to help others. Which is fantastic! Can't tell you how many times I've been on a team where the pitchers are vindictive and try to sabotage the others for playing time. Been there way too many times, so it's refreshing to get a group of girls like this. After all, if you're talented enough, you shouldn't be threatened by your "competition" who is ironically on the same team as you. I've seen way too many catty actions by girls against girls on their own team, from middle-school to the professional level. It's just straight-up not necessary. At the end of the day, you should be grown-up enough and put aside your dislike for someone else in order to reach your common goal of winning games and championships. Because, I can guarantee you, no matter how much you dislike this other person, they want exactly what you want and that is to be successful. So, girls....CUT IT OUT! Okay, that was my mini-PSA. 

Back to didn't end how anyone would have hoped for. After beating Japan the previous night, we lost the championship game in the 9th inning. Japan returned many of their gold medalists from 2008, including Ueno, the pitcher who eluded the Dream Team line-up. I thought we had several opportunities to win the game, but simply came up just short. Youth definitely showed a bit, but didn't cost us the game. It's tough to lose a championship with the same record as the winners, especially when we beat them hours beforehand. However, we fought very hard and I couldn't be more proud of this team and what we accomplished this summer. 
We parted ways very reluctantly. The most memorable "split" was the newly conjoined Jackie Traina and Amanda Chidester. They had separation anxiety before they even were yanked in different directions across the country. I can't envision this group being split up for too much longer. Definitely had a blast this summer and made friends that I want to keep in my life forever and ever and ever. 
Amazing backdrop of the city and one of the stages.

This is my best friend, Claire. She keeps my life
interesting and amazing and most importantly,
After a long summer of playing, I finally had a bit of vacation - 3 weeks to be exact. I spent some time in Ann Arbor, my second home, and it felt extremely weird being back and not having to go to school, but it was definitely good to be back. My friends and I took a roadtrip down to Louisville to visit friends. That place is AWESOME. Wasn't expecting it to be in the least bit. But, it was really cool to visit another school's campus. Also, for you grown-ups.....4th street - highly recommended! It's like a mini-vegas. Not kidding. Check it out. A few days later, I roadtripped again to Ohio to see Warped Tour. More specifically to see Mayday Parade. Huge, huge fan. I love them. Also discovered some other artists while trying to hunt down the band. Overall it was an 8-hour roundtrip roadtrip for a 45 minute set. WORTH IT. By far. I have chills just thinking about it. A couple weeks later, I went to Lollapalooza in Chicago. Mind you, before this summer I had never been to a concert. Talk about going 0-60. Lolla was such a whirlwind 3 days. I went with my best friend from back home, Claire and a bunch of our other friends. Trying to keep that group together was difficult to say the least, but we managed to all make it out alive. On day 2, it quite literally rained on our parade, when a huge thunderstorm swept in and cancelled the concert. Lolla was only to be revived from a flat-line a couple hours later and the show went on. The artists there were beyond amazing. Black Sabbath (with Ozzy basically dead onstage), The Weeknd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aviici, Fun, Kaskade, and, my personal favorite, Florence + the Machine, were some of the shows we saw. Florence changed my life. I say that in complete honesty. She/They were beyond anything I can describe. I started crying. Literal tears rolling down my face. Not in the least bit ashamed about it either. She has the voice of an angel and she flies around the stage like she's one, too. Simply amazing. 
The crazy storm that came through on the wrong weekend
Soon after Lolla, I headed back home to California. I got to see my fantastic friends aka the fam. I was also reunited with my baby, Pudge. He was so much less crazy, which was a relief. His chewing and destroying everything in sight phase has since passed. It seemed as though I had just landed before I was taking off for Japan for second half of season. The team was so excited to have us back and it seemed as though we never left. Their funny antics also havent stopped, so I can guarantee some funny posts in the future :)

Ok, I'm cutting myself off. This post was entirely too long.....but how do you fit such an exciting summer in one post?!?

til next time...
xoxo Jordan 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I almost forgot how much I loved playing for USA. This group of girls is amazing! Everyone clicks. You would've thought that we have been together for years when, in reality, its only been a few weeks.  It's definitely the most fun I've had playing softball in a really long time. With such a young team, we really mesh well and have a lot in common. Most of all, we HAVE FUN. This group definitely jokes around a lot and the mood is always pretty light.

One of my favorite parts: signing autographs for little kids. 

This group came together last year as a group of unknown players, mostly just out of college or still in college. The players before us: legends of the game; players who had built up the program to its' elite status; players who had created a tradition of excellence and dominance. That's like going 100 mph on the freeway just to slam your brakes and take a detour. The public had gotten so used to the familiar faces of USA Softball, of the greats, that when we came along, it was almost like a disappoint to them. For the entire last season, we were constantly asked if we were the JV Team or where was the "real" team, because we certainly weren't it. Of course, we had to smile and explain the other girls left to the professional league while pretending we didn't just take a shot to the gut.
The average age of the 2010 USA National Team was 25 years. Our team? 22. Though it may not seem like a small difference, it actually is a huge difference. Half of our team is either just graduated from college or still in college. The old team had only 1 girl still in college and 3 had just graduated. Along with the elevated average age, there were a couple players that were in their upper 20's. 2 of the girls had children. Granted we have 2 married girls on our team, none of us have children. Our oldest player is 28. The next oldest is 25. Our 2nd oldest girl would have been the average age on the old team. Ok, enough with the numbers......

My point is this team is YOUNG! We like to have fun and be goofy. Sorry, but a bunch of 22 year old girls are not going to be able to be serious all the time. Being light and having fun does not make us unprofessional. Yes, we are "professional" athletes (actually, we still are all amateurs) but that does not mean that we have to behave like robots. After our games, including the championship game, I was excited to come back and read congratulatory messages from fans. Sadly, that's not what I received. I received messages on Facebook and Twitter bashing our team and our "unprofessionalism." What I received were messages demanding for the return of the old team.
Now, I get that fans have the right to voice their opinions, since, without them, we would not be playing at this elite level. However, it's very deflating to play your heart out and finally get to live out your dream of wearing USA across your chest, only to be criticized and overlooked. I doubt anyone realizes how crushing it is for all of us to constantly receive messages or posts from people asking for the old players back. We have all the respect in the world for them and everything that they are doing to further the success of our sport in the professional world, but they are no longer on the team. They chose a different path than we did. They chose to leave the team for various reasons, the main of which was to help build up the National Pro Fastpitch League and provide the option of making softball into a career.
My amazing mother aka my support system/backbone/biggestfan
Many people don't know this, but the USA girls do not get paid. We receive per diem checks (money for food) and some money if we win the World Championships. The reasoning behind all the older girls leaving is completely understandable and, again, we fully respect their decisions. However, the girls on the team now chose to play for USA. We get that you want the older girls back. We understand that they were probably one of the first professional girls you saw play and became inspired by them. But, there was a time when you didn't know their names either. When Natasha Watley first started playing, you probably only knew her as the all-star from UCLA. When Lauren Lappin first started playing you were probably wondering who the young girl was who was hopping around different positions and on both sides of the plate. I'm just asking for people, fans of softball, to give this team a chance. No, we are not the same team as the team before us. But, who could be? Who is supposed to replace Jennie Finch, a woman who has given 200% to this sport, on and off the field? No one could possibly replace Crystal Bustos, or even come close to her power.
There was a time when you had no idea who these girls were. Give us a chance to become your favorite players, or at least prove that we belong on that field, before you criticize and judge us.
Something small that this team got beyond excited for: our names on our jerseys
We have been given the enormous opportunity to represent our country, Olympics or not. All of us grew up with the dream to one day play for the USA. Us getting to live our dream should not be ruined by fans constantly criticizing us. I promise you we will give 110% on the field. I promise you we will play with all of our heart and uphold the tradition of the dominant nature of USA Softball. Please, just give this group the chance to play and be great.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


After an amazing weekend and 2 wins, we flew back to our "hometown." Wiggins packed up and was off early the next morning, while my mom, my brother, and I were off to Kyoto. The company pays for our families to visit Japan for 5 days. Instead of going back a day early, we decided to explore and see one of the cities on our last day. Kyoto was where our opening games were held. I really liked the city and saw they had a lot of historical sites, but didn't have time to see anything. I thought it would be perfect for my family to experience the historical parts. Kyoto is one of the most historical cities in all of Japan. Little historical tid bit for y'all: Kyoto was actually ruled out by the U.S. as a possible city to drop the atomic bomb because of the immense historical meaning and landmarks. Learn something new every day!
Me and my brother in front of the Shinkansen aka
The Bullet Train. Soooooo fast
In case you haven't read any of my previous posts, I am what people would call "directionally challenged" aka I get lost wherever I go. I get lost in my hometown (been there for 23 years now). I have perfected the u-turn and the ever-so discreet parking lot turn around. So, it was only a little discerning that I was supposed to lead myself and my mom and brother to and around Kyoto. Getting to Nagoya - the nearest city - is fairly simple and I had been there before a couple times with our translator. Getting to Kyoto, however, required taking a train, then bullet train, then another train and the bus to get around the city. That's a lot of travelling. That's a lot of opportunity for me to get myself and my family so lost that finding our way back to our hometown in time for our flight the next morning would be improbable. I had planned out everything to do with travel about a week in advance - half because I was nervous about getting lost, half because I was bored with nothing to do since I had already packed the week before. I had everything mapped out and even had a cheat sheet with Japanese phrases. I had everything from "Where is _____?" to "I'm lost" and "Where's the nearest Starbucks?" (priorities people, I have to have my coffee). 
The next morning we were off. Navigating around to the Bullet Train (Shinkansen) was actually pretty effortless. The only problem was figuring out what city we were heading towards. They had trains to Tokyo and trains to Osaka, heading in different directions. I had to figure out which way Kyoto was and considering I still didn't know where I was in the country after 3 months, this was more difficult than originally predicted. After my minimal (bare minimum) Japanese somehow found us on the right platform, we were off on the train within a couple minutes. The train was SUPER nice. Huge chairs with reclining features and footrests. We thought it was too good to be true. Turns out it was. We were in the "reserved" section without knowing it. We got a slap on the wrist from the conductor who basically called us stupid Americans - those words never were spoken but we got the point. While walking to the "general" section, the seats got smaller and smaller; the people grew more abundant; and the fancy features of the recline and foot rests disappeared. Back to reality. A fast one. The bullet train is aptly named, for sure. It was fast. Ricky Bobby fast. If you don't get that reference, look it up, then slap yourself for never seeing that hilarious movie.

The view of Kiyomizudera. Picture doesn't do the view justice

We got in Kyoto without a problem, and even spotted a Starbucks right out of the station. We got our bus passes and we were off. We saw some gorgeous temples and parts of the city. We first went to Kiyomizudera Temple. It was HUGE. It was tucked away at the top of this mountain and had absolutely breathtaking views. It seemed as though we were in the middle of a forest, while in reality, the heart of the city was just about a mile away. The temple also had a waterfall that is said to make any drinkers' truest wish come true. Of course, we had to take a sip and try out our luck. Can't say I wished for anything softball related, though. I've already gotten everything I could possibly want out of this amazing sport. Everything I receive from here on out is just cherry on a sundae. And I love cherries so hopefully theres much more to come ;)

Drinking from the "magic" waterfall. My mom's face is pretty
priceless. The water tasted good to me....
From Kiyomizudera, there was a pathway that led down through the town. It was an olden street with shops all along the sides. In these streets, we bought some fans, some traditional food and candy, and a little blessing figurine. The road was super crowded with a bunch of tourists and school kids. I swear they never go to school. Everywhere I go, there's children wearing school uniforms roaming the streets. I thought they were in school from like 6am til midnight. Apparently not. 

From there, we headed over to the Golden Temple. It was clear across the city from where we were, so it took awhile, but we made it - after temporarily getting lost in the subway and trains. This temple was so gorgeous, and on a much smaller scale than the enormous one we had just came from. The Golden Temple was appropriately named since it was covered in gold leafs. Real gold leafs. Unfortunately, by that time it had turned kind of cloudy and a bit rainy. Nevertheless, the temple was amazing and we got some great pictures that don't even look real. Constantly while in Japan, I feel like I'm living in a postcard. Everything's so clean and perfect. It doesn't seem real at all. Definitely provides for some awesome pictures, though. 

The Golden Temple seriously did not seem real. So pretty!

On the way back from the Golden Temple is where we hit a bit of a snag. We had taken a few different subway trains up to the area, and tried to take the bus back. We were on this bus for a good hour before actually reaching our destination. For a solid 45 minutes I was panicking that we were on the wrong bus and would end up in Tokyo or something. Thankfully, we somehow ended up at our location - much later than anticipated, but we made it. 
Once we got to the train station, everything was easy from there on out. It was definitely a great day with my family and I am extremely blessed that they could come out and see how I've been living for the past 3 months. The next day, we headed back to Los Angeles and "normal" life. I was very ready to be back home and non-foreign life. I wanted American food and wanted a conversation that didn't involve a translator. I was also very excited to get back to my USA teammates and get to training for our World Cup and World Championship tournaments. Can't wait to reunite with them!! 

I'll keep up with the blogging throughout our USA season. Sorry, there will be no lost in translation stories (thankfully for me I'm staying in English speaking countries). 

...'til then
xoxo Jordan 

Saturday, June 16, 2012


So, I know I haven't updated in awhile. Sorry 'bout that. Anyways....
Our season in Japan wrapped up last week. We ended with a 9-2 record for the first half and we're solidly in 2nd place, being 3 games ahead of the teams tied for 3rd. The top 4 teams make the playoffs out of the 12 total teams. So, looks like team DENSO will be making our 1st playoff appearance in 5 years! It's very exciting for these girls who have worked so hard to break through to that top spot. We were definitely picking up momentum as the first half was winding down, so hopefully we can come back just as strong in September.
Receiving my MVP award. Had to give a speech to the crowd.
Thankfully, Maki was there to translate....although,
I did have to actually speak to them. Butchered it. 
One of the coolest things happened in one of our last games. Chibby, our center fielder, has been playing in the league for 10 years. She's really good. Like, really REALLY goooooood. In the middle of one of our games, she hit her 200th career hit. I know this probably doesn't seem like a big deal, but  you have to take into account that they only play 22 games each season and it is very rare for rookies to play. As soon as she got her hit, they stopped the game. People came out with flowers and a banner, there was a speech made, and even the mayor of the town was there. This huge celebration happened.....then she got back on first base and the game resumed. It was insane. It was like a blink-and-you-missed-it celebration. After the game, DENSO people came with more presents and banners. It was pretty awesome to witness all of it. U.S. step your game up, please. These mini-celebrations are awesome. I even got a present for getting Player of the Game in our last game. My present........RAW SQUID. Like chopped up, straight off the boat, squid. Where we were playing, they are very famous for their seafood. So, I guess I can see why I received raw squid. But it was definitely the strangest present I've ever gotten; and I once got a postcard with my head photoshopped on a gladiator from a superfan (not kidding).
I was lucky enough to have my family visit in my last week of the first half. The company pays for our families to visit for 5 days, all expenses paid. I love Japanese softball. 

Thankfully, it happened to be the only weekend that my little brother, Hayden could manage a free weekend before he left for college. And even more thankfully, that weekend happened to be the weekend that we visited one of the most beautiful places that I've ever been. And I've been to Hawaii. And Mexico. And Northern Canada. Really pretty places. They have nothing on Hokkaido, Japan. It's the northern island, so we had to take a plane to get there. Travelling with the team was much easier than my solo adventures with air travel (aka my 5-hour-delayed-flight-and-subsequent-missed-connection-and-staying-overnight-adventure). Once we got to the town, it was like we were in a postcard. Nothing seemed real. All the buildings were very similar old, brick buildings. They were probably all at one time fish warehouses of some sort. It was definitely a fishing town, being right on the water (the Pacific Ocean - the other side of it). At night, all the buildings are lit up, as well as the boats along the harbor. Extremely pretty. Again, I felt like I was in a postcard. Oh! And bonus points.......there was a Starbucks. My obsession with the lovely coffee chain is equalled by my mother. It's kind of our thing to go to Starbucks. Every morning before our games, she would show up to the hotel with my Peppermint Mocha in hand. It became a known thing that I would meet my mom in the lobby prior to the bus leaving. I might add to that my mom is amazing and superwoman and came to every single one of my games my senior year - and didn't miss many my junior year. She's kinda sorta my biggest fan and the reason I am where I am. I love my mama!

This is my amazing and beautiful mother!

One of five king crabs. The amount of food was outrageous!
My family definitely got to experience the full team experience since it was the last weekend. Everyone was ready to celebrate our 2nd place status and great end to the first half by letting loose a bit. Some of the girls arranged for us to have basically all-you-can eat and drink meal at a restaurant across the street. They got to sit on the ground and everything. FULL experience for my mom and brother. To say my team are lightweights would probably be a bit generous. They can't really handle their alcohol. But, Lord do they try. I will say that they are one of the most fun groups of people I've ever drank with, though. They definitely know how to have a good time. 
Again, the place we were playing was famous for their seafood. So, when we arrived, there were about 5 huge platters of crab, each topped off with a king crab that the owner threw in for free. I thought there was definitely going to be enough food - and then some - for everyone on the table. Apparently, the owner did not agree, seeing as he sent up about 8 more rounds of food. After the crab, there was chicken, there was fish, some baked potatoes came out, squid, vegetables, shrimp (raw and full-bodied), calamari, and I honestly don't know what the other plates were. Not that I don't remember, I literally don't know what the food was. And after a few drinks, I really didn't feel like asking or knowing. After awhile, some of the girls started wavering in their ability to form sentences and keep their eyes open. After about an hour, one of them was passed out in the corner. Two more followed suit within the next half hour. Dropping like flies while us Americans were completely coherent and cracking up (and stuffing our faces). 
Towards the end of the dinner, the girls called out Chibby to chug her drink since she had eclipsed the 200 hit mark the previous week. Chibby is 4'10. Tiny little thing. Her thigh is my arm - not kidding. She was already a couple drinks in, and this chugging definitely sent her overboard. The calling out of people to drink definitely did not stop there. Soon enough, everyone was brainstorming ideas to come up with a reason for each person to drink. And even sooner enough, it came to me - my reason being because I got MVP of the last game. Getting the raw squid was enough, I didn't need to chug too. Worse enough, it was in front of my mom and little brother.  Never been a fan of chugging but it seemed as though I didn't really have a choice with 22 girls chanting and screaming in a public setting. I ended up saying the hell with it and looked down and said sorry then continued to chug my rather large pint of beer. Ended up basically crying because it was ice cold and never-ending. 
The night ended in about 10 of the girls laying down on the floor and massive amounts of food still left on the table. But, it was a great time and great way to spend our last night with the team. Bright and early the next morning, we were off and back to our "hometown." 
It's weird but I miss those girls and their lightweight selves already....

xo Jordan