Friday night I attended "A night with Jennie Finch" at the Round Barn Banquet Center in Champaign, Illinois. I was excited for this event because it gave me a good excuse to travel to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were I graduated just a little less than a year ago. I was finally able to visit with some of my friends who are still attending school, and whom I hadn't seen for quite awhile. But in addition to all that, this event was also my first one with Miss Teen Illinois USA, Alexis Atkins. Her and I would finally get to spend some time together ... and we were going to an event with a celebrated celebrity!
Jennie Finch is an American softball player who pitches for the USA national softball team. The team won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. It was neat to meet her, because not only is she absolutely GORGEOUS and majorly sweet, but she is widely regarded as the most famous softball player of all time. When I spoke with her about her family, her four year old son Ace, and what she planned for the future ... I was in awe. Her goals, dreams and aspirations were along the same lines as mine, and although we are shooting for two completely different dreams ... the feelings of hard work and dedication are the same. It goes to show that it doesn't matter what your dream is ... if you work hard for it, you will be that much closer to achieving it.
Jennie said this: "Compare it to taking a test in school. If you studied your butt off for that test and know the material in and out, when you show up on test day you can't wait to get that paper in hand because you know you can ace it. However, if you slacked off and didn't focus ... if you just didn't put the right amount of time in and didn't truly prepare the best you possibly could ... then when test time comes around you will be having feelings of anxiety and will question yourself. It's the same thing with softball or any other competition. If you know you have done everything you possibly could have done to prepare, then when you get there ... you're ready. You are prepared and confident and know that nothing can stop you."
That's what I want to feel like on May 1. When the day comes for me to board that plane to Vegas for the Miss USA Pageant, I want to walk with my head held high, excited for the adventure to come, and knowing that no matter what happens, I've done everything I could, I'm fully prepared, and I'm ready to show it off.
Jennie was an inspiration, a beautiful girl, and just a true gem. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to speak with her. I'm sure I'm not the first girl she's ever inspired to go for her goals ... but I admire her for giving me a little extra boost.