After playing for Michigan, softball pitcher Jordan Taylor knows what it feels like to compete with pride and to represent the name on the front of the jersey.
But for Taylor, playing for the USA Women’s Softball National Team has been a really different experience. One of only 18 players on the team, Taylor said that it has meant a lot to her and that it has been something special.
“It’s an honor to be representing my country and softball in general,” Taylor said. “When you put on the USA uniform, you put it on for all those little girls that dream of playing (for this team) and that just love the sport in general. It’s a huge honor and its definitely one of the top of my athletic achievements.”
Since being selected to join Team USA in the middle of June, the former Michigan softball standout has been busy playing non-stop.
After the four-day National Team Selection Camp, Taylor went straight to training for exhibition games. She then traveled with Team USA to Florida, Virginia and Maryland all within a week to take part in exhibition games.
After a five-day break of competition — but continued training — Taylor then traveled with the team to Canada to participate in the Canadian Open FastPitch International Championship. After the week-long competition and competing in the championship game, the team then flew down to Oklahoma for the World Cup of Softball.
But even with an exhausting schedule, Taylor has found a renewed focus and pride for her country. She has been inspirited by the reactions and warm receptions she has received in public.
“We travel with regular people — we don’t have charter flights or anything like that — and when we walk through (airports) people are just in awe that the USA team is near them,” Taylor said. “You kind of get a newfound pride for your country. It’s just been a lot of fun.”
She’s also enjoyed her experience with the national team because it has given her the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people. Taylor was particularly moved by Military Appreciation Night during the World Cup in which she had the opportunity to meet the Wounded Warrior All-Amputee Softball Team.
Meeting the Wounded Warriors immediately impacted Taylor, providing her with instantaneous inspiration and giving her a better understanding of what it means to represent the letters across her chest.
“When you meet people like that, you have a new pride for putting on that uniform,” Taylor said. “You really take to heart that you’re representing your country. You become a lot less selfish in your own little goals and aspirations because you’re doing it for your country. It’s really a humbling experience.”
A year after playing for the USA Women’s Futures National Team, Taylor was just happy to have the opportunity to compete in the World Cup a year later.
“It’s an amazing atmosphere,” Taylor said. “Just to be playing in Oklahoma City in the Hall of Fame stadium, it’s just amazing because of all the greats that have been there before you and all the championships that have been won on the field. It’s always, always fun to come here because we always get great crowds and great fans that support us.”