Oct. 26, 2012
BERKELEY - With fall ball complete, CalBears.com is getting its softball fix by chatting with the newest Golden Bears and next up is Jessie James, who hails from Winton, Calif. She concluded her senior year of prep ball at Buhach Colony High School as the varsity captain with a distinguished list of awards - the Buhach Colony Women's Sportsmanship Award, the Buhach Colony Most Athletic Female, the Booster's Athletic and Academic Award and the Varsity Softball Most Inspirational Player. In 2011 and 2012, she played the Lady Magic 18 Gold and played for the California Grapettes 18 Gold from 2009-11.
CalBears.com: What made you choose Cal?
Jessie James: I first heard about Cal when I was eight-years-old, from my grandfather, who worked as a carpenter superintendent in this area. He laughed and commented on one of my school pictures, hugging a tree, said I was destined for Cal. My two cousins and aunt graduated from Cal and spoke highly of the education they received. My great uncle attended during the Vietnam protests on campus. My grandmother attended the play "Hair" at Cal in the 60s. At age 12, I visited the campus with my AVID class and fell in love with the campus, the beautiful halls and all it represents. I came home with a Cal sweatshirt and a Cal softball t-shirt. That's when my dreams began!
My travel 14U coach was Steve Drewery, and his daughter Marissa was a pitcher at Cal, so I began following the team on the internet, attended the camp, watched games on TV and went to see them play. I feel comfortable and at home with the coaches. My family's roots are in the East Bay, and the ties go along way back. They all in some way contributed to the growth and development in this area. I'm working hard on and off the field so I too can contribute to my school and family. As you can see it's all Cal in my family, and I feel the exact same!
CalBears.com: What are your hobbies outside of softball?
JJ: My hobbies outside of softball would have to be hanging around the fam-bam. My family is everything, and when we're all together it's a great time. I love old cars! I also enjoy listening to music and of course watching TV!
CalBears.com: Do you have any unique stories about yourself that set you apart from your teammates
JJ: I was raised by my amazing grandparents since the age of six, and they are easily the reason I'm the woman I am today. They're my No. 1 fans!
CalBears.com: If you had to name two facts about yourself that make you unique, what would they be?
JJ: My two unique facts about myself would be during a softball game a girl slid into my leg and broke it, yet I still got her out. I have to watch cartoons in the morning.
CalBears.com: What's your favorite part about Berkeley and/or the Cal campus?
JJ: My favorite place on campus is the High Performance Center because you're surrounded by athletes.
CalBears.com: What is the best thing about being a part of Cal softball?
JJ: The best thing about being part of Cal softball is that we are all family. Right from the beginning I felt like I was home with all the girls on that field.
CalBears.com: Did you grow up watching Cal Athletics? What's it like to represent them?
JJ: I watched the softball team since I was 12. It has been a dream come true being able to represent Cal softball. You walk around campus proud.
CalBears.com: What has been your favorite part about college life so far?
JJ: My favorite part about college so far is the independence factor and how fast paced the atmosphere is here at Cal.
CalBears.com: What are you planning on or thinking of majoring in?
JJ: I'm planning on majoring in Biology.
CalBears.com: What has been the hardest, most surprising aspect about transitioning from high school to college?
JJ: The hardest transition from high school to college is the lecture halls. You go from 30 students being in a classroom to 500. It was pretty intimidating, but you just have to sit towards the front/middle, and you'll be set!
CalBears.com: What class are you most enjoying this fall?
JJ: I'm enjoying my Scandinavian class the most so far this fall. You read fairy tales by an author from Denmark and analyze them like The Little Mermaid.
CalBears.com: Why did you pick your number?
JJ: I'm wearing No. 5. I picked my number because I have always been obsessed with numbers divisible by five, but now I get actually get the whole number 5!
CalBears.com: What are your pre-game rituals?
JJ: My pre-game rituals are usually rocking out to some music and focusing on the believing in myself knowing I CAN do this.
CalBears.com: How did you spend your summer? What were some highlights?
JJ: I spent most of my summer playing summer ball. Some summer highlights are spending a week with my best friend at Disneyland and Universal Studios, going to Connecticut for four days to visit my boyfriend, who is in the Navy. We went kayaking and toured a submarine. I also spent some quality time with my lovely grandparents before I came to Cal.
CalBears.com: Who are your biggest heroes?
JJ: My biggest heroes are my grandparents. They have taught me everything I know and are the strongest people on earth. No matter what curve ball life throws me they are always by my side ready to take it on with me. I love them with all my heart.
CalBears.com: What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
JJ: In 10 years I would like to be a physician's assistant with an amazing family and husband. I would want to have a beautiful house in a small town where every day is another day in paradise with my family and husband.
The best piece of advice I've ever received is from my grandpa and he told me to always stay on the sunny side of life. Once I grasped that my life became enjoyable and not so serious where I couldn't breathe. The worst advice I've ever received is from a coach telling me that I couldn't handle the Pac 12, to just set my standers lower, and look where I'm at now!
CalBears.com: When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
JJ: When I was a little kid I always wanted to be a doctor and have a happy family. I wanted to do anything I could to help people.
CalBears.com: If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy?
JJ: If I won the lottery the first thing I would buy is a 1965 Mustang. I love, love, love old cars!
CalBears.com: What's something you can't live without?
JJ: I cannot live without Dr. Pepper. That's easily my obsession.
CalBears.com: What's one thing about your hometown that you miss?
JJ: The one thing about my hometown that I miss is my family.
CalBears.com: If you had a time machine, when would you go?
JJ: If I had a time machine I would travel to the late 1960s early 1970s. I love these eras because downtown would be filled with old cars, and you would just drive down Main Street and stop to talk to your friends. Long rides in a car just for fun.