I know, I know, we skipped our November blog. Life was a little hectic then, and I didn’t have much extra time to sit down and write. However, we won’t miss out on 2 months in a row! Fall season wrapped up for my Bobcats, and my semester is almost over for grad classes, so life is slowing down just a little bit. Although, I’ll admit I don’t know what to do with free time when I do have it. After May, I won’t have grad classes anymore, so who knows what I will get myself into.
I have a feeling my work with RBI Austin might increase a little after life slows down for me. Many of you may not know that I joined forces with RBI Austin two years ago to bring the dream of playing softball to underprivileged young girls in Austin. When first approached by RBI, I loved the idea of it, but I wasn’t exactly sure how I would fit with an organization like this. Now, I can truly say I have fallen in love with the opportunities we provide at RBI Austin. We are still working out some kinks with the softball side, but we have also grown a lot in our 2 seasons, so it is a win-win for all involved.
RBI offers clinics to the girls and boys in our organization, and we usually try to find a former major leaguer, or even a current one who is home in the off-season, to come out and inspire our kids. The baseball boys enjoy the benefit of this more than the girls, so I started getting involved and going to the clinics to help the girls! When I worked at St Edward’s University, a lot of my players would join me at these clinics and the young girls loved it. We taught the girls how to throw, catch, hit, and pitch. There were even some fun games played where I really got to interact with the girls. Needless to say, seeing the smiles on these girls faces each month, makes the 2 hours we spend with them so special.
RBI offers summer leagues for the kids to play and our girls league has grown in its two seasons. This last summer we were able to provide them an awesome opportunity. With the NPF playing in Round Rock, I worked with RBI Director Matt Price and JJ Gotsch of Ryan-Sanders baseball to organize an event for the RBI girls to come to Dell Diamond and watch the professional girls play. The evening before our series with the Chicago Bandits started, some of the Pride players and a couple of the Bandit players gave a clinic for girls only! It was the first time our softball girls had their own exclusive clinic. We had a ton of fun!
Friday night of our series with Chicago was deemed “RBI Night.” Round Rock Express gave RBI players and parents tickets to the game, and we allowed them the chance to be on the field for pre-game introductions. The girls lined our exit to the dugout, and I cannot even put into words what I felt the first time I looked up before being introduced and seeing their smiling faces as they recognized me and cheered me on. Chills went through my body as I high fived and smiled back at them. To see these girls enjoy an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have was the best feeling in the world. I’m sure they all liked the pictures and autographs they got afterwards too! Events like these remind us how much more there is to our lives than just playing softball.
I can admit, I didn’t fully grasp the concept of being a role model when I was younger. However, over time, as we all grow and mature, I have fallen in love with the opportunity to give back and inspire a young girl to chase her dreams. As time went on, I really understood the impact we can have on younger players. My mom says I’ve always loved kids, so it seems like a natural fit. To be honest, I probably had to grow out of being a kid myself. If there’s anything my mom has instilled in me, it’s her dream to watch her children make a difference. RBI Austin is one place I’m working to live out her dream.
RBI is a non-profit organization in Austin. Our website is rbiaustin.org where there are links to many different fundraising events. We had to reschedule a benefit concert with Trip Lee and Jimmy McNeal due to rain. Fun fact, Jimmy McNeal used to sing on my couch in college! He was good friends with one of my roommates, and we got to see him tryout for American Idol, sing around town, and now he has his own album on iTunes!
We are also in the middle of a Going, Going, Give campaign! The link above explains it more, but if you donate, and get a certain number of friends to donate, you can win prizes including tickets to the RBI banquet. If you’re interested in helping us out at all, please check out the website. It can go a long way towards making a positive impact on a young person’s life!!
I am anxiously awaiting our Benefit Banquet in January! This will be my 3rd year at the banquet and each time it gets bigger and better. This year my favorite band, Reckless Kelly, is performing, and we are going to listen to Roger Clemens and Huston Street talk! Not sure who will sit at my table, but I am anxious to see!
I’ve got to get busy brainstorming more ideas! But everyone have a happy December and happy holiday season!