Lisa Fernandez planning comeback after taking time off to raise son

After a three-year hiatus, three-time Olympic gold-medalist Lisa Fernandez is attempting a comeback in her beloved sport of softball, in an effort which she hopes will be inspirational to moms everywhere. The 36-year-old stepped away from the pitchers mound after becoming pregnant with her son Antonio, 2. Says Lisa,

It’s a once in a lifetime thing to have the opportunity to really live the best of all worlds — to have a family and still compete at the highest level — it’s really just a dream.  I’ve been a role model to a lot of little girls and their dreams.

And as I get older, hopefully I can switch that hat and be a role model to future moms, who can know that there is a way to do it all and still be good to all that you need to be good to, and still put the child at the front. But it takes a lot of support, and it takes a lot of help, and I’ve been blessed to have that.

Blessed indeed! A neighbor watches Antonio in the morning for Lisa’s early workouts, her parents babysit in the afternoon and her husband Michael Lujan takes over in the evening, all so that Lisa can adequately train for the Beijing Olympic games. Lisa says she delayed starting a family until she felt that she was "prepared for the potential of not being able to make it back," adding,

I didn’t want to worry about having a baby and ever feeling like because of him I couldn’t continue to compete, when it was still something I felt like I needed to accomplish…I’m looking forward to going back and competing again.  Now, I have a new challenge. Now, my challenge is to make my son as proud as I can.

Motherhood has predictably softened Lisa, who says that in addition to the physical conditioning she’s had to work hard to regain the mental toughness that made her such a threat on the mound.

I remember rocking Antonio at 2 a.m., when he was a month old.  And I am thinking, ‘I’m supposed to be your big, bad mom, who’s striking people our left and right, and here I can’t even hold my kid without tears streaming out of my eyes?’

Lisa works as a color analyst for ESPN and is assistant coach for the UCLA women’s softball team. Antonio will turn 3-years-old next month.

Source: USA Today

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