An American athlete abroad

An American athletic abroad

Jordyn Rogers' journal provides insight into her adventures to and around Italy

This summer, because of the support Jordyn Rogers received from friends and our community, she enjoyed the trip of a lifetime. Her appreciation to each person that helped her by purchasing raffle tickets, donating supplies and expertise to build the picnic table that was raffled and making or purchasing candles is sincere and heartfelt. Congratulations to Brandon Giacona, the winner of the picnic table! All this work was a labor of love for the Rogers.

Jordyn has worked hard to develop her softball skills and it has been a family effort. She received a scholarship upon graduation from GHS to attend Kilgore Jr. College and to play as a Kilgore Ranger! Summer is off-season but a true player never stops training. Jordyn is a member of the select team, Nitro. This team has been selected by the organization, ACIS to represent the USA in Italy for a "Good Will Tour." Introducing international tours around the world not only enriches the lives of the receiving country but also broadens the horizons of the young men and women of America that are chosen to participate. Jordyn Rogers, Class of 2014, is a team member of the East Texas Softball Team called Nitro! Twelve girls from Nitro were chosen to travel to Italy to compete with Italian Teams in softball. These girls represent Woodville, Lufkin, Woden, Garrison, Groveton, Huntington, Nacogdoches, Diboll and Cushing.

Jordyn had the foresight to keep a journal. If you have traveled, you realize days and places begin to blend together before you know it so thankfully, we can experience her trip through her eyes:

Day 1
I arrived at Academy in Lufkin at 3:45 am on Saturday July 11th to begin my journey to Italy. We headed to Houston to fly out of George Bush International Airport. Our flight departed at 8:47. We arrived in Newark, New Jersey then experienced a four-hour lay over before departing for the eight-hour flight to Rome Italy.

Day 2
We arrived in Rome at 8:47 am on Sunday morning. Italy's time is seven hours ahead of Texas. I have had 4 hours of sleep in the last 26 hours. Our tour manager, an older man from London England, said the best way to adjust is to hit the ground running and so we did. We went to Vatican City. The guide pointed out the building the Pope lives! Saint Peter's square is gorgeous! Jesus disciple Peter was crucified there. Our meals were part of the travel package. We ate at a buffet style restaurant for lunch. I had lasagna and it was very different but I enjoyed it! Finally we got to our hotel for a few hours of rest before being leaving for dinner. Dinner had three courses, pasta then meat then dessert. It was not what I was expecting but I ate it anyway. After our meal, we toured Rome and I got to walk around Piazza Navona Square. It was more beautiful at night! Time for lights out! Gotta go to sleep now!

Day 3
So I woke up at 6:45am and the day begin. We went to the 'Colosseum' first and it was pretty legit. Just thinking about the gladiators fighting exotic animals there is pretty cool. You could see the under ground cages where the different animals were kept. We went to the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately it's under construction but I still got to throw some coins:) We went to a Pantheon where kings and queens were buried. One of the queens named Pizza. By the way, real pizza here is called Pizza Margarita. We had lunch at Pantheon Square and it was pretty good. It was thin thin thin pizza! Now it's time to play ball. We played our first 2 games, which by the way, we kicked butt! The girls were so awesome and so nice however they ranged of 14 to 50 years old. They don't have select teams or high school teams, all they have are similar to our club teams who just meet up and play ball, like slow pitch teams in the U.S. However, Saturday, we play the junior Olympic team which is going to be really good! After the game we went to a pizzeria and that was good too! And now it's 11:37 pm here so. Until next time!

Day 4
Well. Today was not as great because I felt carsick. I woke up at 7 and ate breakfast with fresh pineapple and tropical juice. We were on our way to Saint Peters Square again except this time we actually went in to the church! After that church which is the biggest one in Rome we went to the Spanish steps and got to shop for a few hours. Tonight we went to a square with painters and musicians. It's the atmosphere you could imagine when you picture Italy. It's the perfect temperature with the most wonderful gelato (ice cream) and the perfect softball team, goodnight!

Day 5
Well today we woke up and hit the road. We drove from Rome to Luca You should see the mountains and the sunflower fields. When we got to Luca we played our second set of games, and of course we kicked butt! The girls were so amazing and I taught a young Italian boy how to throw a knuckle ball! We taught them all how to dance the Cupid shuffle and wobble! The dinner tonight was so good! We had a casual BBQ dinner at the softball field. It was wonderful! Today was really awesome even though I didn't see anything historic it was still great! The hotel is gorgeous and has free wifi but it's broken; and our air conditioner doesn't really work but I'm not complaining because I'm in this beautiful place and I'm just lucky to be here. I miss you all so much.

Day 6
So today we left Luca and headed to Florence. When you imagine Italy (those of you who have never been) you probably think of nothing but vineyards and wineries and castles. That's what I was expecting. When I got to Rome I was disappointed. The city was so crowded and there were no vineyards or wineries. Florence is the most beautiful place you will ever see. It's much smaller than Rome so there was more room to enjoy it. After we toured Florence we went to Tuscany! And it's even prettier! There are vineyards everywhere! We went to a mid-evil town deep in the mountains. Beautiful vineyards and so many pretty buildings and then, a torture museum! It was gruesome but awesome. Today was fun fun fun! Tomorrow we head to the Fashion Capital of the world. Milan

Day 7
Today we traveled from Luca to Milan. Milan is a more modern Italy. Like have glass buildings made in this century; however, they do have some old buildings too. The cathedral in Milan took 500 years to complete and it was worth it. We didn't tour the church but it's beautiful. And I got to shop in the fashion capital of the WORLD! I really didn't buy anything because everything was so expensive but it was still cool to walk in Gucci and Versace like I owned the place! And highlight of my day. Ready for it? I got to eat Burger King! I'm so tired it's not even funny so I'll catch you tomorrow and tell you all about how we beat the junior national team! Hopefully night y'all!

Day 8
Well today we went to a lake! This lake was right on the boarder of Switzerland. We were seriously just miles from Switzerland. We could see the Swiss Alps! The lake was huge and so pretty! It's surrounded by mountains! The water was so clear and blue and when I say it sparkled it literally sparkled. The lake bottom was made up of rocks and these rocks had bronze and silver embedded in them therefore the water had little particles of glitter just floating. It's hard to explain and no words could even describe it. Now we are on to the Olympic training field in Milan to play our last set of games. We played the best team at the field, which is about the level of a collegiate team back home and beat them 9-2! One of their girls played second base for Blinn Jr. College! How small of a world is it! The whole team was amazing. Every single girl was a great athlete and person! Today was the best day I experienced in Italy. Today was absolutely amazing. They always say, "Save the best for last," and today is my last day. Thank you Italia for making this the best and most memorable trip of my life. Ciao

The experience of a lifetime all because a little girl loved the sport of softball and her family recognized her dream and have sacrificed to help her reach for the stars!