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