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JJ

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Reply with quote  #1 
Don't know if this has been posted already or not, but even if it has been, I think it deserves its own thread. Wonderful article about Jessica Mendoza and the back story to the "2016" photo.

http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer08/softball/columns/story?id=3546900

Mendoza leads players in 'united' statement to IOC

By Alyssa Roenigk
ESPN The Magazine
(Archive)

BEIJING -- When U.S. softball player Jessica Mendoza woke up Thursday morning, she had more on her mind than that evening's gold-medal game against Japan. She was thinking about the future of her sport.

2016 Softball

AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

Jessica Mendoza led players from the U.S., Japan and Australia in an unusual ceremony after Thursday's gold-medal game to send a message to the IOC.

"No one on the team wanted to talk about it and I was getting frustrated," Mendoza said from her Beijing hotel room Thursday night. "I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to do something with the other teams to make a statement."

Mendoza had been thinking about a way to join together with the other medal-winning teams and had finally devised a plan to make a statement to the IOC after the medal ceremony. But she needed the help of the Japanese and Australian teams to pull it off.

"We never talk to the other teams -- ever," Mendoza said. But when she spotted the Australian team in the lunchroom Thursday afternoon, she broke that unspoken rule of intersquad silence. "I walked up to Stacey Porter, their main hitter, and said, 'Can I talk to you a second?'" Mendoza said. "She was shocked."

Mendoza told Porter of her plan to gather members of the three medal teams after the game and lay softballs in the shape of "2016" on the field.

"I told her, 'I know you guys had a tough loss, and I don't know what's going to happen in our game tonight, but we need to unite and create a message.'" To Mendoza's surprise, Porter agreed. Then, she reached out and gave her a hug. "It was crazy," Mendoza said. "It was that moment I realized, no matter what happened, I wanted to do this after the game."

But an idea is one thing when it's simply that: an idea. It becomes something entirely different when you're standing on the medal podium with the wrong color medal hanging around your neck.

"Every time I needed to get through a workout or a run, I closed my eyes and imagined a gold medal and that has driven me for the last four years," Mendoza said. "To have that not happen, I am heartbroken. I feel exhausted. It's been a rough day."

But as Mendoza stood on the podium holding hands with her teammates and thinking about the millions of girls who may never have the opportunity to wear an Olympic medal of any color, she decided her plan was more important than her grief.

"It was hard to go up to Australia and Japan after the game and say, 'Hey, can we do something together, united? Sure, we were just feeling this negativity toward each other, but let's do something positive.'

"But this is not about America. It's not about the eight teams that are here. This game is so much bigger than us. And it was so much more important for us to do this with a loss than after a win."

Before the game, Mendoza told the team about her plan and asked her coaches to help round up three buckets of balls. As she walked to the podium to receive her silver medal, USA softball PR director Julie Bartel pulled Mendoza aside and told her the balls had arrived. "I grabbed my teammate Stacey [Nuveman] and said, 'I want to do this. Can you help me?'"

After the awards ceremony, Mendoza and Nuveman walked up to the members of the Japanese team first, and asked if anyone spoke English. When a translator arrived and Mendoza explained her plan, the gold medalists didn't understand.

"At first, they thought we wanted to play catch with them," Mendoza said. "Then they thought we wanted to take pictures with their team. I didn't know if they ever truly understood, so I said, 'Just come with me,' and I took them by the hands."

Mendoza led them to the area where U.S. pitcher Monica Abbott had outlined the numbers 2016 on the field. "We split the three buckets between us and started placing balls on the field," Mendoza said. "I walked over to Yukiko Ueno and handed her a ball."

Then the women knelt and placed their balls on the field, and then stood behind their creation. "I was holding hands with Stacey Porter and Ueno, the pitcher who just defeated us, and we were chanting 'Back, softball,'" Mendoza said. "It was beautiful. I felt more emotional than I did all day."

Not every member of the teams took part in the ceremony for two reasons. Mendoza said they didn't need everyone because it would be too chaotic, and she also understood some of her teammates were extremely upset and not ready to look to the future right then. Not everyone was going to think that way and she was fine with that.

Three hours later, as Mendoza prepared to meet with several members of her team to celebrate their Olympic experience and, yes, their silver medals, she said she hopes the outcome of this Olympic tournament will help answer many of the questions she's been asked repeatedly this week. "It shows that this sport is a lot more equal than people say," Mendoza said.

"That was the question of the week: 'Do you think dominating this game hurts the sport?' I kept saying, over and over, we don't dominate," Mendoza said. "There is disparity and so much talent in this sport. Those questions bothered me because the Olympics should be about doing your best. I know there are people who are happy we lost because they think it's better for the sport, and that frustrates me. That is not what sport is about."

As Mendoza and her teammates were being publicly criticized for dominating their sport, another Olympian was becoming an international hero for dominating his.

"No one is telling Michael Phelps to back off," Mendoza said. "Since when has someone told Michael, 'We're going to eliminate swimming because you are doing way too well?'"

Alyssa Roenigk is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.


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All I can do is be me. Whoever that is. - Bob Dylan
Original_Coach

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Reply with quote  #2 
Jessica Mendoza Is my International Softball Hero!

Jessie! Amen......

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GoYard

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Reply with quote  #3 
Wow, she is one classy lady.  She's my hero, too! 
JoiseyGuy

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Reply with quote  #4 
Jessica Mendoza is so much more than a softball player. I respect and admire her tremendously.
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"Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking. Where it is absent discussion is apt to become worse than useless." Leo Tolstoy

"Do not try to teach pigs to sing. It will frustrate you and infuriate the pigs who will unite in anger against you, and you will never achieve singing your song". Dr. Petersen
Sftblchick

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Reply with quote  #5 
Jessica,

I just want to thank you so much for helping and trying to keep the dreams alive for us all around the world!  I was crying tears of joy when I read this article!  Myself and the rest of your fans will NEVER forget what you have done and are doing for this sport...wow, you are a true champion!  If I could ever be half the person that you are that would be an honor in itself. May God bless you in all that you do!
Boldcall

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Reply with quote  #6 
Somehow, knowing that there is still a Jessie Mendoza involved in softball makes me feel that the future of the game is bright, no matter what the medal count is. Jessie is classy and much more than an excellent athlete.

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What do the five Olympic rings stand for? Well, one is for softball fans, one is for all the softball players around the world, and the rest are for the Three Stooges, who would have known better than to steal the game from us all.
ladyblue422

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Reply with quote  #7 

Great article, that's one classy softball player.

tenfour

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Reply with quote  #8 
Just read the article re Jessie Mendoza's successful attempt to have the 2008 Olympic Softball Medallists send a message to the world: Softball 2016.

Jessie is indeed an outstanding softball player, but more importantly, she is an outstanding person who has chosen a life outside the lines for the betterment of women in sports as well as life. What a terrific role model.

But there are two other role models in the Mendoza family. Jessie inherited her genes but not her personality, compassion, humanity, wisdom, and other traits she is endowed with.
Those are taught in the home by parents; loving, caring, teaching, encouraging, are some of the traits that Jessie was taught aside from her earlier softball skills.

Mr. and Mrs., you are to be congratulated for creating and shaping a role model that cannot help but enrich our world.  Thank you!


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Some people have all the answers but not necessarily the right answers.
LMUfan

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenfour
Just read the article re Jessie Mendoza's successful attempt to have the 2008 Olympic Softball Medallists send a message to the world: Softball 2016.

Jessie is indeed an outstanding softball player, but more importantly, she is an outstanding person who has chosen a life outside the lines for the betterment of women in sports as well as life. What a terrific role model.

But there are two other role models in the Mendoza family. Jessie inherited her genes but not her personality, compassion, humanity, wisdom, and other traits she is endowed with.
Those are taught in the home by parents; loving, caring, teaching, encouraging, are some of the traits that Jessie was taught aside from her earlier softball skills.

Mr. and Mrs., you are to be congratulated for creating and shaping a role model that cannot help but enrich our world.  Thank you!



I agree with you on that.  Parents are the unsung heros.  I believe that having the right coaches helps also.

Darryl Joynt, her high school coach at Camarillo, is also my daughter's coach on the Scorpions.  He told me this story about when Jessica was in high school.  She was a catcher in high school and he wanted her to call the pitches in the game on her own.  He says that after each pitch she would look over to her dad, sitting in the stands, for guidance on what to call.  Finally, fed up, Darryl said, "if you look at your dad one more time I'm pulling you."  She never looked back after that.  Who knows, that one comment might have been a turning point.
toroman

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Reply with quote  #10 
LMUfan,
sometimes parents/coaches/family/friends have a collective influence on our children and we don't know what word/jesture/reaction will stick with them or not.  that is what makes the parenting job nothing more than a continuing journey.
Nizab

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Reply with quote  #11 

Jessica Mendoza made an executive decision, in my eyes, she is executive material.


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JJ

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Reply with quote  #12 

Jessica Mendoza is everything that's right about sports. Just an incredible human being.


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All I can do is be me. Whoever that is. - Bob Dylan
RollTidePride

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Reply with quote  #13 
I LOVE Jessica Mendoza.
She is by far my favorite.

Unlike alot of players, she plays because she truly loves it. She's not full of herself at all, and she genuinely wants what is best for this sport, not just what's best for her. She's always about everyone else. It's amazing. I'm sure it was hard for her to do that after the dissappointing game, but the fact that she did it shows so much more about her than winning a gold medal ever would have. She does it for the kids that might not get to play in an Olympics anymore. She does it for the sport and for the kids and that's what I like about her. She is phenomenal in every possible aspect, basically. She is the only player I have never really been able to critique. There's just nothing negative to say about her play, or her attitude, or her personality! She's the only one I can honestly say is like that.

Way to go Jess!

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"Success is not to be measured so much by the position one has reached in life,
but instead by the obstacles which they have overcome." – Booker T. Washington
JoiseyGuy

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Reply with quote  #14 
Jessica for President !!! If not now, later !!!
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"Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking. Where it is absent discussion is apt to become worse than useless." Leo Tolstoy

"Do not try to teach pigs to sing. It will frustrate you and infuriate the pigs who will unite in anger against you, and you will never achieve singing your song". Dr. Petersen
am

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Reply with quote  #15 

Where is that picture from?  That is so cool! 


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TheHammer

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Reply with quote  #16 
The picture is great, but feel sorry for those two guys with their back to the camera.
Need a toupee or a hat.
JoiseyGuy

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Reply with quote  #17 
Hammer - This was beautifully done. Be careful what you say about men who have grown right up through their hair.
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"Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking. Where it is absent discussion is apt to become worse than useless." Leo Tolstoy

"Do not try to teach pigs to sing. It will frustrate you and infuriate the pigs who will unite in anger against you, and you will never achieve singing your song". Dr. Petersen
BillSmith

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Reply with quote  #18 
Those with youthful crops of hair scoff at their seniors that now trim ears and noses. Hair is protective in nature. Have to muster up your resources where necessary. We've got a ball caps.

Hair follows a growth pattern of least resistance. It is why teenagers have a healthy mop on their top. We, in contrast, having tremendous activity in that cranial area, force hair to seek out alternatives.

Can we hear you now? Why no. Don't care to sniff the bovine excrement of youth either. Been there, done that.

It's not sad that by the time you know the difference between SHlT and SHINOLA that ones head needs a buffing, it's just part of the process.

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Bill Smith
West Bay Nuggets
NorCal Women's Fastpitch Summer League
info: nuggetsoftball@aol.com

Sometimes you are the mole, sometimes the mushroom.
Chapple

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoiseyGuy
Hammer - This was beautifully done. Be careful what you say about men who have grown right up through their hair.
There is a saying that the good Lord only made a few perfect heads.  To the rest He gave hair. 
TheHammer

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Reply with quote  #20 
Awesome Chapple, I am going for a haircut this weekend, as I want God to like me and help me win the Super Lotto.
GO BALDIES.
Chapple

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSmith
... the difference between SH__ and SHINOLA .....
This term reminds me of a true story.  Some time back I was in a Scouting committee meeting where we were discussing a new policy that had come the Regional office.  Our meeting leader heard about the policy and made the statement ....they don't know SH__ from SHINOLA....  The discussion continued for several minutes, all the while our committee secretary was taking notes.  Always trying to be accurate in what was recorded, when things quieted down, he politely asked .... how do you spell SHINOLA?   Needless to say it lightened up an otherwise intense discussion while our leader was trying to figure out how to answer the question. 
Chapple

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHammer
Awesome Chapple, I am going for a haircut this weekend, as I want God to like me and help me win the Super Lotto.
GO BALDIES.
Sorry, shaved or trimmed do not count.  Can't beat the system. 
Dewey

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Reply with quote  #23 

Jessica Mendoza Will Make Baseball History at Tonight’s Yankees-Astros Playoff Game

http://time.com/4063839/jessica-mendoza-yankees-astros-mlb-playoffs-broadcast/


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