Enduring pitcher gives up everything for the game - Athlete of the Week: Jamie Kenyon
Jamie Kenyon pitched 12 innings during last week’s doubleheader without any break from the mound losing both games and playing on a team with a losing season, but Kenyon stands resolute and ready for the next game.
“I’ve always been a pitcher and it’s my favorite position because I like controlling everything,” said Kenyon who is one of the captains of the women’s softball team. “My favorite pitch is the screwball and it works every time.”
Kenyon accomplishes this feat of endurance week after week even though she is playing through numerous injuries and her team is struggling to win games. Yet losing has taught her the meaning of sportsmanship, what it means to be on a team, leadership qualities, and to never surrender in the face of adversity.
“I am the only pitcher so I have no choice,” said Kenyon.
Kenyon accomplishes this feat week after week as a pitcher even though she has a torn meniscus, an out of place patella, and severe tendonitis in her scapula and forearm.
“I am getting surgery in the summer on my meniscus,” said Kenyon who added that since her injuries have been left unattended and she has continued to play, they have only gotten worse.
Kenyon plans to finish the current softball season at Santa Monica College despite the fact that doctors have instructed her to go on hiatus and take a break from playing softball.
“She has a lot of fight; she never stops and never quits,” said Head Softball Coach Char Wilson. “She also sees potential in everyone and that’s why she’s one of our captains.”
Kenyon’s dedication to the sport of softball has only grown since she first started playing when she was ten on the Travel Ball Minor League in Tallahassee, Florida.
“My dad had noticed that I was really strong so he drew a square on the garage door with surfboard wax and told me to hit it, underhand,” said Kenyon. “It was love at first sight for me.”
Kenyon played on the junior varsity team for the Chiles High School Timberwolves during her freshman year, and became captain by her junior year. She then moved to Los Angeles and continued to play softball at Venice High School her senior year.
After graduating from Venice High School, Kenyon enrolled at SMC as a Theater major following her passion for acting, and to build on her impressive acting resume where she has been featured in everything from a music video for Jewel and Blaire, to being cast on TV shows such as Nickelodeon’s Big Help and MTV’s Parental Control.
But Kenyon soon realized that she had a greater passion for softball instead of her talent for acting and decided to focus on pitching instead.
“It’s everything,” said Kenyon. “It has literally been my life since I was ten. I love the camaraderie I share with my teammates and the passion behind it.”
Kenyon has played for the Corsairs since the spring of 2010; she redshirted last year, and returned as captain in 2012.
According to Kenyon, her daily routine includes waking up ten minutes before the time she has to be somewhere and sprinting out of her house, usually in the direction of class. After, she has lunch with her teammates and then heads off to practice. After practice, she attends a mandatory study hall-implemented by her coach- along with the rest of her teammates
Kenyon also has very specific and unique pre-game and mid-game rituals and this includes praying before every game, singing on the mound, and making the sign of the cross before each inning regardless of whether the team is winning or losing.
“I pray for protection and to play to my fullest potential,” said Kenyon. “Singing puts me in the mood and in my own world. I could sing anything, a song that’s out now, or ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,” she said. “Coach yells ‘sing a song’ if I’m not focusing. She also calls me the biggest diva because I never start a game before I have my hair done and my lip gloss on.”
“She definitely is a diva,” said Wilson. “But she is also determined, selfless, motivational, and simply great all around.”
Kenyon initially declined scholarships out of high school to play softball at colleges in New Mexico, but now plans to transfer from SMC in order to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the fall. Kenyon would like to focus on becoming a high school psychologist and a softball coach in order to continue following her passions.
Kenyon advises first year softball players to “not be afraid of failure,” and adds a tip that “lip gloss will fix any situation.”
“My favorite class at SMC was philosophy class,” said Kenyon. “It opened my mind up to the rest of the world, to how others act, and why people do what they do. It made me change my major.”
According to Wilson, Kenyon’s best assets are her passion and the fact that she wears her heart on her sleeve.
“If you’re passionate about something,” said Kenyon. “Excellence will follow.”