Earlier this week, I interviewed Barb Jordan. Despite being a softball legend, we didn't discuss the sport we both love. Instead, Barb updated me on the wonderful work she does with Always Bev. That interview is at On the Beat With Barb Jordan of Always Bev.
Barb's lengthy resume includes being a three-time first-team All-American, a three-time National Champion and an inductee in the California State University Northridge Hall of Fame.
Continuing her playing career, Barb played for the Redding Rebels in Women's Amateur Softball Association (ASA). Despite injuries incurred from being hit by pitches, Barb persevered and helped her team win multiple championships.
Perhaps her career highlight occurred during her eight seasons with Team USA. In the 1996 Olympics Summer Games, Barb was part of the Gold Medal-winning Team USA.
Barb would go on to coaching and later broadcasting. Despite that lengthy and impressive list, Barb's most important work isn't directly related to softball.
In 1988, Barb's sister Bev was tragically killed by her fiance. As the founder of Always Bev, Barb honors her sister, while raising awareness, educating and empowering. Simply stated Always Bev stands for Be Vigilant, but its meaning, scope and significance go well beyond that.
After a brief history of Always Bev, Barb talked about her initial training in started Always Bev and the regular lessons and instructions she takes. As I state in the interview, knowing Barb for years, I know of her thorough preparation and knew she approached Always Bev with that same focus.
I then brought up a few scenarios I recently experienced. A night at a comedy club, a photo opportunity at a comic con and an evening walking downtown all had connections to being vigilant. Barb gave her insight on each of these situations.
Barb finished by discussing The Ripple Effect, her podcast. With a variety of guests sharing their experiences on sex-trafficking, abuse, shooters and more, Barb continues teaching awareness and understanding.
I praise The Ripple Effect for its openness and directness, without being salacious, graphic or overly dramatic. The Ripple Effect features frank discussions and lessons everyone should hear.
I repeatedly have told Barb I love that her work teaches awareness not fear. Being aware, taking a few extra precautions and knowing your situation actually decreases fear.
It took a lot of courage for Barbara to take her sister's tragedy and make such a positive impact in the aftermath. The world can be a scary, dangerous place, but with a little extra caution, it can be a much safer place. There are so many distractions and time constraints, but nothing should prevent a few extra seconds for awareness. These moments can be difference-makers and life-savers.
I told Barb I would always welcome her back for update interviews, even if she has no new info to share. Her work is that important.
Bringing a little sports into this, in this era of social media and selfies, young athletes (especially women) are the focus of so much attention (some of which is unwanted). It is crucial for all to know how to handle themselves and their situations.
For more information on the wonderful work Always Bev does, go to AlwaysBev.com. Look for Always Bev – The Ripple Effect podcast for more news, tips, education and all things related to safety in every day life.
I have known Barbara for many years through our connection at National Pro Fastpitch. It was always fun seeing her and sharing our love of softball at Chicago Bandits Stadium. I respect Barbara for all she accomplished in softball, but my admiration has grown immensely.
I also thank TheEveryDayFan.com for allowing me to stretch the boundaries of sports coverage a bit for this topic. I do think there are important lessons for athletes and fans in what Barb does and I believe we are all better for Always Bev.