Well hello Burnt Orange Nation!
Long time, I know! I was supposed to write a blog before I actually departed the States for Japan, but I ran out of time. Yes I said Japan. I know some of you are probably scratching your head wondering if I've gone crazy, especially to travel across the ocean after everything that has happened.
To answer your question, no I haven't gone crazy! Back in May, after coaching at DePaul University for three years, I decided to leave and focus on my playing career. I only have a few years left, and training on my own was getting to be difficult. On top of that, the lack of training I was doing was causing my body some issues once season rolled around. After a successful (yet short due to injury) summer season in the National Pro Fastpitch League, I moved back to the beloved Austin and began training. I've been approached about playing over in Japan since I graduated, but I never was quite comfortable with the idea for two reasons: 1. I didn't want to spend March-Nov playing softball when I just finished 6 years of non-stop ball. I wanted a break and 2. I wasn't going alone, and I know myself well enough to know I can't live with just anyone in a foreign country for what will end up adding up to almost 6 months.
In November, after being teammates, roommates, and much discussion Megan Willis and I decided to take the plunge and agree to play in the Japanese Softball League. What's that? Well Japan has a very solid professional league in which teams are backed by companies. We are playing for Toyota Industries Corporation. The team is called Toyota Shokki. Our season runs from March to the beginning of June with a break during the summer months, and finishes up September to early November. The money is good, but the experience is going to be something else!
As I type this we are over the last part of Alaska. We just looked out the window to see ice patches all throughout the ocean. Very different view than I'm used to. Actually this flight is very different than I am used to. We get to fly business class, which means we have our own two person pod. Each of us has our own TV; we can choose to watch whatever TV show or movie we want, whenever we want; our seats lay back into beds; and we got AMAZING food (grilled shrimp salad, Sate chicken with vegetables (my choice), steak with herb butter and asparagus (Megan's choice) a chocolate covered ice cream ball). Every other time I have flown international it's been Economy, and well this is like night and day!
So to touch on my thoughts on the disaster... of course as soon as it happened I was shocked, scared, unsure... every emotion you can think. I called my parents, neither of which answered their phone right away. Later my mom (who keeps Peter updated quite often) sends an email basically telling me I can't let the fear of something out of my control keep me from living an experience like this one. As the days after the tragedy happened, I kept this thought in mind, and while I am definitely nervous, I am also ready to go experience this opportunity. Where our team is located is Kariya, outside of Nagoya. After many phone calls and emails, we've been assured this area has not been affected by the earthquake or the tsunami, minus a little bit of rumbling.
I will readily admit I am usually not one for change. I would be quite content still in Austin, working out every day, and just being, but after some downtown and some "me" time, I've come to realize I live life a little too cautiously. I don't enjoy it as much as I treat my life like a constant business. Sure, I'm a professional athlete, but who says I can't enjoy what that life brings. This adventure as I like to call it is going to be great! We even get Japanese lessons!!
I'll try to update weekly if possible... sometimes more!? I don't know how many of you will actually read and follow this, but I'll check the comments and write accordingly!
Always bleeding burnt orange and representing proudly!