Q&A: Olympic Gold Medalist (and Mom) Jennie Finch

By , By Chanel Parks, of Woman's Day
Jennie Finch just may be the most famous softball player in the world. She pitched for the gold-medal-winning USA National Softball Team that competed in Athens in 2004. Later, she became a mom to sons Ace, now 6, and Diesel, now 1. A Los Angeles native, Finch is a Family Activity Good Life Guru for Hershey’s Moderation Nation, a website dedicated to encouraging healthy habits for kids and families. As the London 2012 Olympics draws near, she spoke with WomansDay.com about how her mother influenced not only her athletic achievements but also her life with kids.

How do you keep your children healthy?

It’s important to keep them active. Of course you can control what goes into their mouths, but it’s also about putting the active back into family activity. Go outside with them, live in the moment and encourage them. That’ll help you find fulfillment in your life as well.

How did your mom motivate you as an athlete?

She’s a competitor, too. She was always telling me to be the best I can be and don’t compare myself with others. She taught me to find myself and not settle because in the end, it’s who I am on and off the field.

What words of wisdom did your mom like to share with you?

Dad was the pitching coach, while Mom was the emotional supporter. Her unconditional love was great, and she wanted what was best for me. It was more about what she did than what she said, and she made sure I was the best I could be. She, ironically, is the sports nut, so she made sure we could enjoy sporting events by getting a radio to listen in. We also watched Dodgers and Lakers games.

What special things did your mom do for you when you were down?

No matter what came my way, she taught me to learn from the tough situations. Through good times and bad, I still call her to get advice. She’s always there to listen, never judges and knows exactly what to say or do.

How do you motivate and inspire your kids when they’re down?

I use the same methods as my mother. My husband and I are both disciplinarians, but I keep my heart open and try my hardest to do my best.

Do you want your children to play sports?

My oldest, Ace, already plays T-Ball. We’ve lived on the road, so getting them active is hard. But in today’s fast and multitasking society, I encourage balance for my kids as much as possible.

Have you ever made a mistake with your children that you’ve learned from?

So many. You don’t take a class; you’re thrown into motherhood and learn from experience. Taking those lessons, you become the best mother you can possibly be. I realize the differences between my children and use what works for each of them individually. Most importantly, I’ve learned to have unconditional love no matter what happens. Give them time even in the midst of this busy life—be one on one with them. 

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How do you keep your family active? What questions would you like to ask Jennie?

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"donít compare myself with others" -- that's a very important lesson! Report
My son played t-ball and baseball for 10 years. has also played soccer, basketball and been on track at his school. he has played tennis with our family for years and is now beginning high school and is one of the best on the tennis team and only a freshman. A life of sports is a wonderful way for kids to spend time, he is very fit for 14 and also eats well as he learns from my SP habits. Report
To get my kids (two young boys) active I had to provide them with bikes and scooters and helmets and the freedom to explore the neighborhood. And then plenty of time at area parks and playgrounds. That is for free play.

Organized activities. We had to just try different things until they found one they enjoy. We tried gymnastics which was good for strength, flexibility and conditioning and they enjoyed it for a couple of years but it just wasn't their sport. I could tell. My younger tried t-ball for a season and it was a lot of fun but he didn't want to continue. And then we found competitive swimming. My older son, who has no interest in any kind of sport with a ball, is passionate about swimming. And that is what we had to do, try a few things until he found his sport. (The younger one enjoys it too).

I love the workout that swim gives my kids. And it is hard work. Report
I give her credit for having children, but to name them Ace and Diesel is something I'd never have done. That's okay for nicknames, but not real names. But, I know celebrities try to come up with as weird names as they can find for their children. Report
I'll bet you are a fabulous mom, too! Report
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