June 12, 2023

Good News: The Oklahoma Women

The Sooners’ softball team finished a spectacular season by unapologetically professing their faith in Jesus Christ.

Dominance doesn’t begin to describe the Oklahoma women.

Yes, the Sooners beat Florida State 3-1 last Thursday night to win their third straight women’s softball national championship and fifth in seven seasons. Yes, they finished off the season with an eye-popping 61-1 record and a 53-game winning streak. And, yes, they became the first team in history to lead the nation in the key statistical categories for each part of the game — hitting, pitching, and fielding: They scored the most runs, they gave up the fewest, and they fielded the ball better than anyone else.

None of this, though, tells us about the inspiration behind this singular season — at least for some of the Sooners’ key players. As FaithIt reports: “Several Sooners are devoted Christians who boldly share their faith. They’re following the example of head coach Patty Gasso, who regularly glorifies God for His many blessings. Gasso credits God with changing her mindset years ago, shifting the focus from winning softball games to winning souls. ‘You open the door and let them in; I’ll take over from there,’ was God’s message to her.”

What a message. And what a testimonial from her players. During the post-game presser, when Oklahoma team captain Grace Lyons was asked by ESPN’s Alex Scarborough how she and her teammates handle the day-in, day-out pressure of their winning streak and maintain their joy throughout it all, she responded unequivocally.

The only way that you can have a joy that doesn’t fade away is from the Lord. Any other type of joy is actually happiness that comes from circumstances and outcomes. … Joy from the Lord is really the only thing that can keep you motivated — just in a good mindset no matter the outcomes.

Lyons’s teammate, Jayda Coleman, agreed “one-thousand percent,” noting that she was happy after having won the national championship as a freshman but didn’t feel joy. “I didn’t know what to do the next day,” said Coleman. “I didn’t know what to do that following week. I didn’t feel fulfilled and I had to find Christ.”

She continued: “I think that is what makes our team so strong is that we’re not afraid to lose because it’s not the end of the world if we do lose — obviously we’ve worked our butts off to be here and we want to win — but it’s not the end of the world because our life is in Christ and that’s all that matters.”

Said infielder Alyssa Brito:

This isn’t our home. … We have so much more. We have an eternity of joy with our Father, and I’m so excited about that. … No matter what, my sisters in Christ will be there with me in the end, when we’re with our King.

Women’s softball is somewhat unique among collegiate sports because its popularity is growing to the point where it actually competes for eyeballs with its men’s counterpart, baseball. As Scarborough notes: “The growth of college softball in recent years — 24 schools averaged more than 1,000 fans per game last season, up six from five years earlier, and 1.74 million people tuned in to watch the WCWS final last year, roughly 150,000 more than the men’s final — suggests that what the Sooners have accomplished is good for the sport. But parity is a legitimate concern when Oklahoma is winning 28 games by mercy rule and has a run differential of plus-442.”

Scarborough has a point about parity. Oklahoma has its pick of the nation’s best players. Not only was its roster stacked to begin with, but during the offseason, the Sooners picked up four additional players who were either All-Conference players or All-Americans at their previous schools.

“Is that good for the game?” Gasso asked. “It’s good for job security. … And people are like, ‘This is boring’ or ‘This is not good for the women’s game to have an elite team.’ But it’s our job, and I think for sport connoisseurs, they want to see what greatness looks like.”

Indeed, anyone who wants to see what greatness looks like need look no further than Norman, Oklahoma. Because something special there is making the country’s best players want to disrupt their lives, leave their chosen schools, and instead go to play for Patty Gasso.

Scarborough’s ESPN article is interesting, but not just because he offers a detailed and informative analysis of Oklahoma’s incredible season. No, what’s most interesting about his 2,700-word article are the words that are conspicuously absent: words like faith, Jesus, and God. We don’t know whether Scarborough is himself an embittered atheist or was simply under orders from his bosses at the notoriously left-wing ESPN to forgo any reference to the Sooners’ strong Christian faith. But we do know that he asked the question during the postgame interview, and he didn’t report the players’ answers.

Clearly, Scarborough’s glaring omission says more about ESPN than it does about the Oklahoma women. Indeed, it says more about our Leftmedia’s willingness to report on any topic under the sun except a resounding example of strong Christian faith.

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