Sauk Rapids Native Wows Crowd, Nation With First Pitch [VIDEO]
CHICAGO -- A Sauk Rapids native and Cathedral grad, Sister Mary Jo Sobieck probably didn't think she'd wind up in the national spotlight, but throwing the first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game got her there.
Sobieck grew up just across the street from the Benton County Fairgrounds in Sauk Rapids.
Ceremonial first pitches usually end up on gag-reels, so, Sobieck's first pitch stood out since she threw the full 60 feet from the pitcher's mound, and threw it right down the middle. She credits her long-time in athletics, and her mother watching down on her for her success.
While she's been an athlete most of her life, whether playing shortstop, center field, or coaching volleyball, Sobieck has remained faithful to her calling. She says after growing up in a devout Catholic family, she's loved life in service to god.
"As much as [my love for sports] is still alive today, my priority is really my community life. And I don't want to miss prayer or my meals with my sisters, and growing in that. I hope through all of this, that it's been kind of a springboard to proclaim my love for God, the gospel and life."
Sobieck even put on a little show before throwing out the first pitch. Performing a bicep trick with the baseball. She says while it may have seemed like she wasn't nervous, there's always that feeling before you do anything big.
"In everything I've ever done, I want to go into it confidently, but not overconfidently so that I'm not on my game. I tend to have enough nerves to want to do my best and watch myself."
She was first led into the church as a profession when she was 25-years-old and met the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois. Sobieck says it's there where she first felt God calling her to her true path. She's been a part of the church community since 1993. She was assigned to Marian Catholic High School in 2007.
Sobieck says her athletic ability and love for God has meshed perfectly in her adult life. Saying being a part of a team, and moving toward a common goal is something that sport and religion share.
The sister also has a bobblehead available for pre-order, it costs $25 and part of the proceeds are donated to her school. She says it's been a "nun-believable" experience so far. However, Sobieck doesn't have any plans to come home and help shore up the Twins' bullpen.