This Saturday is the date for the 7th Annual Natasha Watley Foundation Holiday 5K and 10-K Walk/Run to benefit their programs to get girls involved with softball. Natasha is a four time All American, an Olympic gold medalist and was a member of the USA Softball team. She stopped by our studios to talk about the event this weekend and while she was here, she made a surprise announcement about her own future.
Natasha started the foundation by doing inner city clinics to cater to girls and expose them to softball. Many of them didn’t even know what softball was. Natasha says that seeing how the foundation has led some of the girls to play in high school and then to go on to college because of softball, has been her greatest reward. She also surprised us by announcing that she’s about to retire from the sport.
We talked about her eight years living and playing softball in Japan. Natasha says she fell in love with the Japanese people and the culture. It was complete culture shock for her, going to a foreign country to live. She says that as an African American she really stood out because she didn’t look like everybody else. She put a lot of effort into learning the language and that helped a lot. She feels that the experience truly broadened her horizons and made her realize how much we take for granted here in the US.
We discussed her impending retirement. Natasha has bittersweet feelings about leaving the sport since it’s all she has done since she was five. She’s nervous about missing the feeling of competition but is excited to discover what’s coming next. She’d love to run the foundation full time.
Natasha believes that the things sports teaches you off the field are most important. Through softball she has learned to work hard and has been given the opportunity to travel the world.. As she approaches retirement, she feels she’s leaving the sport better than it was when she started and that’s a very good thing.
Please consider participating in the walk or supporting the foundation with an end of the year donation. Get more details at www.NatashaWatleyRace.com.