Not sure if anyone else saw this, but there is a great article about UCLA softball great Lisa Fernandez on the WWL. It is a part of the Hispanic Heritage month.
I got a chance to see her play when I was an undergrad and she played as true leader with lots of fire and skill. Of course there are a lot of unbelievable athletes that come out of UCLA, but I love reading about her story of how she got there and what she overcame to be so great. She touts the support of her parents as one of the keys to her success.
I remember being very young, maybe 10 or 11 years old, and I was short and stocky and fairly well-built, and he'd tap my legs and say, "You're going to be strong." He was very encouraging about my build and my size. It was never a problem. He encouraged me to be who I was. And that was different in that generation for a Hispanic father to encourage his daughter to play sports. In 1996, he asked me if he could take my [gold] medal, my bat and my poster that had my name on it to show some of his friends. He told them, "This is why my daughter still plays this game." My dad broke the Hispanic stereotype of expecting his daughter to be married and raising a family by the time I was 20.
It was definitely a bummer to see her left off the Beijing Olympics softball team. She deserved to be on the team, especially since its been cancelled from the Olympics in large part because of the dominance she exerted in previous Olympics. She thought so too.
You always know and believe you can make a difference. Experience goes a long way. There's nothing like being there and, more important, knowing what it takes to be there. There's a big difference between getting it done Monday through Saturday, but can you get it done on Sunday, championship day? If you're any kind of athlete, you think you can make a difference. I can't guarantee [it], but I think I could have helped.
Check out the rest of the article. It's a quick and enjoyable read.