May 27, 2004
"Click your heels three times and say, 'There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home.'"
This phrase from "The Wizard of Oz" was what most of us were doing on Saturday night. There was a storm that hit the state of Nebraska that was one of the biggest to go through the state in a century, and of course, we were right in the middle of it. There were something like 20-30 tornadoes that touched down in approximately a 50-mile radius. None of these tornadoes hit our hotel, but it was the closest I have been to a tornado in all of my life. I hate these storms! I love California and there really is no place like it.
Some of the people on the field crew at Nebraska's stadium commented on California and its earthquakes. Now I don't know about them, but I would definitely rather be in California not knowing when an earthquake is going to hit than be in Nebraska knowing that I might die in a tornado that is coming my way.
There was a mall that was 20 miles away from our hotel that was right in the middle of this storm. Coach Ninemire, Coach Kim, Lindsay James, Sarah Adams, Brian (our equipment manager) and a couple more got stuck at this mall when the storm all of a sudden snuck up on us and hit the town. The mall was right in the path of the tornado and the people who were left in the mall (like us stupid Californians) had everyone go into a safe spot in a sports store to keep everyone safe. For some reason, I guess Coach thought that there was no immediate threat and she wanted to get out of Dodge. But thank God that her mother was there, because she convinced Coach to stay a few extra minutes to let the storm die down a bit. Who can say no to their mother?
Meanwhile, Paris and Nicole, I mean Lindsay James and Sarah Adams, were freaking out while Coach shopped for next year's team backpacks. It is not that often that we encounter these things where we are from. When it was time for them to go, it was still pouring down rain. Brian was driving like a mad man back to the hotel, and he couldn't even see the lights that were in front of him. It was a crazy and fun time, and I am glad that I was not there, but the main thing is that we did win our games and we got the chance to advance to the College World Series.
Winning regionals and going to the Women's College World Series is one of the best feelings that a softball player can have. I have told my other teammates that there is only one other feeling that can be better than the one that we feel right now, and that is winning the national championship. It is the ultimate high - with the exception of the lucky ones who have won the gold medal - but other than that, it is a wonderful feeling.
We have another chance to win this tournament and if we play the game that we know how, we will come out on top. I know that it is in us - I know that we all want it, so now all we have to do is go out and get it. We have worked so hard since last summer, when we fell to UCLA in the last championship game, to get back here, and I feel that it is time that we take care of business.
So Bear fans, wish us luck and watch our games. We are going to need some luck and spirit from everyone. We will make you proud! Go Bears!