For many of the families spending the week in Johnson City for the 2011 USA/ASA Girls 10-Under Class A Fastpitch Softball National Championship, it’s one of — if not the only — family vacations they get to take during the summer.
That’s just the case for the Joneses, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., who traveled across the country to see their daughter, Jackie Jones, 11, play in this week’s tournament at Winged Deer Park.
“To travel across the country with your family, it’s quite a feat, especially in today’s economy,” Jackie’s mother, Terri Jones, said Monday as her daughter warmed up for the Corona Angels’ afternoon Pool Play game.
Since her husband’s family lives in Georgia, Terri Jones said they decided to pack the whole family up and visit there before making their way to Johnson City for the tournament.
“We have a 14-year-old son who’s starting high school, so it was pretty much our last family vacation before school starts and the only opportunity for a family vacation, so what better place to be than Johnson City, Tennessee?” she said with a laugh.
Traveling to the tournament offers a different kind of family vacation, Terri Jones said. Her family was already used to traveling sports leagues, as her son spent some time playing in a traveling basketball league. She said the experience is something that’s exciting for Jackie and the rest of the Corona Angels, who come from all over Southern California.
“It’s probably not the wins and losses the girls will remember, but the time they spent with their teammates, the hotels, the people in Johnson City who they’ve interacted with, I think that’s what they’ll remember most,” she said.
But what does Jackie think of the whole experience? “Everything,” she said with a smile.
As someone who has been playing softball for more than three years, Jackie said the experience of making it all the way through state and regional play has been exciting.
“It’s a big accomplishment for my team to be here and we’re going to have a lot of fun,” she said during Monday’s practice.
Since playing in the ASA this year, Jackie said she has grown as a player.
“I wasn’t a shortstop until, like, recently, kind of, and now I’m the number one shortstop, so that’s pretty good I guess,” she said.
But Jackie wouldn’t be where she was if it weren’t for the rest of the Angels. And that’s why she was looking forward to getting out on the field and “winning the whole thing.”
“I personally love all of my teammates. If they weren’t here, I guess I wouldn’t be who I am today,” she said.
Daily admission is $10 for adults and $5 for youth and seniors. For instant scores and up-to-date brackets, visit www.johnsoncityasanationals.com.