Sometimes, you can learn from those you’re teaching.

In this week’s episode of The Journey of My Mother’s Son podcast, I was fortunate to sit down with Ella Witman. Ella is only 12 years old, soon to be 13, but people of all ages should be inspired by her story.  I first met Ella in 2017 when she started attending our winter softball clinics that we conducted when I was still with the BIG Vision Foundation.  She had a glow, energy, and passion for the game that was hard to overlook.  She was always smiling and always eager to learn.  You could tell that she truly loved playing the game of softball and had fun while doing it.

An avid softball player and horseback rider, Ella had her world come crashing down in late October of 2018 when she broke her hip in a freak accident a few days following injuring it on the field.

Faced with the possibility of never being able to ride a horse or play the game of softball again, Ella’s strength and perseverance has her back in the saddle and soon to be back on the playing field as well.

Ella was a fixture every year that we held a Jennie Finch Softball Camp at our old complex in Reading, PA.  Jennie was one of her biggest role models.  During her recovery period, she was able to lean on a strong support system within her family and close friends as well as some encouragement and prayers from some awesome former Olympians, such as Jennie, Leah O’Brien-Amico, Crystl Bustos, and Toni Mascarenas.

During Ella’s battle to get back on the field, the one thing that I noticed the most was that she never seemed to stop smiling.  Regardless of where I would see her, she would greet me with the BIGGEST smile that you’d ever see!

She helped me, the guy who used to teach her softball, to understand that no matter what is going on in your life, you just have to keep smiling.  A great lesson for all of us.

Both the video and audio only version of the podcast are available below: