President Bush Honors NCAA Champion Softball Team

Sept. 24, 2002

WASHINGTON - Since winning the NCAA championship in May, the Cal softball team has received its share of congratulatory notes from fans across the country. But Tuesday, the Golden Bears accepted one in person from the nation's most recognizable sports enthusiast - President George W. Bush.

Cal flew across the country Monday for its Tuesday afternoon meeting in Washington, D.C. Upon arriving at the White House Tuesday, the Bears were escorted up to the State Dining Room on the second floor, where several other teams who won spring NCAA titles were waiting.

Upon entering the room, Bush greeted each team and posed for an official photo. When Bush made his way to the Cal squad, he applauded the Bears for their hard work and achievement, singling out pitcher Jocelyn Forest for her one-hitter against Arizona in the NCAA final. Forest, in turn, delivered a message to Bush from her 10-year-old nephew, who said that he wanted the president 'to live long and prosper.'

After the photo ceremony, the team was led down a corridor to the East Room for a press conference honoring all of the teams in attendance. The Bears entered the room to the strains of 'Big C,' as played by a Marine Corps quartet.

'One way you're going to succeed is to recognize that responsibility comes with being a champion,' Bush said. 'If you set high standards for yourself, I hope you remember that others are watching you.'

Following his remarks, each team presented Bush with a gift. Third baseman Candace Harper represented the Bears, and gave the president a Cal softball jersey with G. Bush and the No. 9 on the back.

'It was more than I expected and my palms are still sweating,' Harper said almost two hours after the ceremony. 'I was surprised at how personable he was when he met with us, and I think all of our mouths were open that the president was right there talking to us. I was happy with the way he presented every team.'

The Bears' trip continues on Wednesday when they are scheduled to meet with Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents Berkeley.

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