Hi everyone! I'm trying to get caught up on the blogs, so here's what happened when Sophie was bat girl for a day: One of the joys of parenthood is the satisfaction of seeing your children create memories and open themselves up to new experiences. While we were filming last season, Sophie, Josh, and I were at lunch when Sophie expressed that she wanted to go to UCLA and play women's softball. Kelly McKeown, Director of Marketing for the Amateur Softball Association of America saw that episode and was so impressed that a nine-year-old had so much enthusiasm for softball, that he took the time to contact Bravo to invite Sophie to Oklahoma to be the official bat girl. When I told Sophie about the offer, she screamed for about five minutes, caught her breath, and started screaming again! I think she was excited!
I played softball for as long as I can remember. Being raised on a farm, I was always looking for things to do. I remember being too young to play on the summer rec team, so I would spend endless hours throwing a softball on the roof of our machinery shed to play catch with myself. From the age of nine to 19, I pitched for a team in a local summer fastpitch league and loved every minute of it! Both Ashley and Sophie share my love of softball. Ashley played travel softball for seven years and was a kick-ass third baseman and catcher — even losing her two front teeth on the field! That's dedication! Sophie is just starting her career. She is a natural athlete, loves playing short stop and third, and is a great sport! I enjoy the fact that my children have learned how to work together as a team — such an important life lesson!
Oklahoma was fantastic. Kelly McKeown, his wife, and the USA Softball Team made us feel so welcome. Kelly gave the girls, Sophia, Danyka, and Bria, a goodie bag that contained official softball jerseys with their names on the back. Sophia wore hers proudly for a couple of weeks straight. We attended a dinner with the USA team where the girls had their jerseys autographed.
On Sophie's big day, she and I got to ride the bus with the team to the stadium. For the first time ever, Sophie was speechless! She absolutely knew what an honor it was to participate in such an event and be in the presence of such amazing female athletes. Sophie sat with Jenny Finch who is a pitcher for the team. Jenny's inner beauty matched her external beauty. Not only is she is an intelligent, dedicated, and talented athlete, but I loved the fact that she is both a wife and a mom as well. She gave Sophie her blue sparkly headband that, even five months later, leaves Sophie in a full-on panic attack if she can't find it!
This team has been among the most dominating of any sports team in history. I had continuous goosebumps watching them. Sophie had the opportunity to warm up with the girls and they were so good with her, taking the time to guide her through the exercises. Coach Mike Candrea and Assistant Coach Karen Johns made Sophie feel so special — like it was an honor that she was the bat girl for them. It was heartwarming.
Sophie was the bat girl in the game against Japan. The stadium was packed and she was announced with the players. The game aired on ESPN/ESPN2. I was so proud of her. She retrieved the bat with both grace and perfection! You would have thought by my reactions that she was the star of the team. Sophie was having the time of her life in the dugout, while George, his daughters, and I were having fun in the stadium. KFC was a sponser, so Colonel Sanders sat with us. He was the best look-alike I've ever seen. It was great having George with me. He is a wonderful partner. He supports and encourages Sophia's interests in sports and horses.
The USA team won the game against Japan and went on to win the World Cup. It was a very memorable weekend for all of us. Check out the team at www.usasoftball.com. If any of you have daughters that are interested in playing softball, check out www.asasoftball.com. ASA has become one of the nation's largest sports organizations, representing a membership of over 3 million. Getting your daughters involved in sports is one of the best gifts you can give them.