Jessica Mendoza has company on road
It has already been a crazy summer softball season. After flying home from the NCAA super regionals in Knoxville, Tenn., I'm back on the road in Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series. It's my seventh time covering the event, and a lot has changed over the years. Most notably, my husband, Adam, and 3½-year-old son, Caleb, are on this trip with me. I'm also seven months pregnant, so that presents certain challenges.
I'm staying incredibly busy, but honestly, things are nowhere near as hectic as they've been for me in the past. I'd normally be out there hitting and throwing and then setting up to interview players. After playing 25 consecutive seasons, it has been nice to simplify life a little and spend more time with my family.
Although I'm not playing softball right now, my past has a big influence on me. I've still been lifting and doing some light cardio on the road. I've really enjoyed challenging myself in new ways, which includes staying in shape even though I'm carrying a much bigger load. During my pregnancy with Caleb, I did a similar amount of exercise, and he turned out healthy. He loves being active, so I make sure we get time to play and go for swims together.
I've also figured out ways to continue to eat healthy foods while on the road. It's even more important to me on trips like this one, when Adam and Caleb are here. We actually packed an entire small suitcase filled with jerky, dried apricots and nuts from home. We also made sure our hotel room had a refrigerator, and we went grocery shopping as soon as we got here. We don't want to go out to eat for every meal, and being pregnant, I'm constantly hungry. Eating the usual ballpark diet of hot dogs and nachos just isn't an option!
While my family continues to grow, I think we've gotten increasingly better at dialing in our routines for everything from eating to working out to spending quality family time together. On top of all that, I'm also working. For example, by the time this trip is over, I will have covered 10 games in five days. It's a good thing I love my job!
This is undoubtedly my favorite time of year because there is so much excitement surrounding college softball. For a lot of these girls, it's the biggest moment of their lives thus far. I feel privileged to be involved in televising it and sharing their stories.
It's fun to remember that back in 2001, I was one of these girls. Playing for Stanford, I was there the first time our program ever played in the World Series. It was also the first time I'd ever been asked for an autograph, which totally blew me away.
As I sit here, getting ready for my day, Caleb is with me, and I can't help but smile at the journey we've taken. It's amazing to consider everything he has gotten to experience as a result of my involvement in the sports world -- from red carpets to gold-medal matches to Olympic medal ceremonies. But he's more concerned with seeing a cactus than anything else. I must have done something right!