MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Although her All-Marine team finished the All Armed Forces Women Softball Tournament with a 0-9 record, Christina Mota bursts with pride when she is asked about the team.
"We’ve got a lot of heart," the 20-year-old Modesto, Calif., native said. "We were 0-9, but we had fun. We gave it our all!"
Mota has been playing softball since she was 10 years old after her mother signed her up to have something to do. Since then, softball has become one of her favorite pastimes, she said.
"Your worst day at softball is your best day at work," she explained. "It’s a way to get away from work and all the other stresses in life."
She joined the Marine Corps after spending a year at Modesto Junior College. Her sister enlisted in the Navy and she wanted more of a challenge, she said.
After completing boot camp in the summer of 2004, she trained to become a supply clerk, and since then has been stationed at the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School here. She was promoted to the rank of corporal in November 2005.
"I picked up softball as soon as I got to my unit," she said. "I played for the MCCES’ team and then I played on other teams in the area in other leagues."
Mota was introduced to the All-Marine Women’s Softball Team by one of the Marine Corps Community Services’ sports coordinators here.
"I went to the softball camp they had here in California and got on the team," she said.
The All-Marine Women’s Softball camp is three weeks long and Marines from military installations all over the world travel to Southern California to train and play various tournaments to prepare for the annual All Armed Forces Tournament in the last week of August.
Mota has found softball helps her keep it together while living in the small desert community of Twentynine Palms.
"If you don’t play sports here, I don’t know what you do!" she said.
Playing softball has also been key in Mota’s life in helping her develop team skills.
"Technically, everything you do involves teamwork; at work, in life," she explained. "You just develop the mentality to always think of others and how to work as a team in everything you do."
Mota urges fellow Marines to join any of the All-Marine teams that include softball, golf, volleyball, cross-country, basketball, football, rugby and wrestling. For more information on All-Marine sports, log on to the Web site, www.usmc-mccs.org/sports/ml/allmarine.cfm.
Mota also volunteers coaching little league softball teams made up of 9- to 12-year-old girls in the local area, and it’s one of the hardest things she has done, she said.
"They get upset at everything!" she said. "If we’re losing, if they feel embarrassed by their parents’ cheering, everything! But it’s fun. I love it."
Mota has found volunteering with youth has been another way to keep busy, while having fun, she said.
"If you’ve got nothing else to do, give back to the community," she said.
The young Marine meets once a month with military children teaching them about drugs in a program called Drug Education for Youth, sponsored by the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital.
Mota plans to reenlist, continue her college education and pursue a career in law enforcement as a highway patrol officer after her life in the Corps is finished.
She also plans to continue playing softball and volunteering with youth no matter where her career leads.