". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Oklahoma Softball National Champions Publicly Proclaim the Source of their ‘Joy That Doesn’t Fade’

June 12, 2023

The University of Oklahoma softball team took home the National Championship last week in the Women’s College World Series, using their national recognition as an opportunity to share their love for Jesus.

The Sooners have had immense success this year, conquering their third consecutive national title. The team won 3-1 against Florida State University last Thursday, in game 2 of a best-of-three series.

At a pregame press conference, a reporter from ESPN asked how the girls quiet their anxieties amidst a long season and immense pressure. Infielder Grace Lyons responded eloquently and confidently. “The only way that you can have a joy that doesn’t fade away is from the Lord, and any other type of joy is actually happiness that comes from circumstances and outcomes.”

Lyons response to the question launched a back-and-forth among all three of the players about the importance of their faith in Jesus Christ. Lyons even brought her coach into it, crediting Patty Gasso for their team-wide eternal perspective. “I think coach has said this before, but joy from the Lord is really the only thing that can keep you motivated.” Lyons continued to share, “There is no other way that softball can bring you that [joy] because of how much failure comes in it, and how much of a rollercoaster the game can be.”

Studies show that athletes can have identity-crises post-retirement and can suffer from the tremendous pressure placed on young competitors. As echoed in the words spoken at this press conference, finding our identity and happiness in the object of our affection is unreliable and unfulfilling. The joy and perseverance that these women radiated came from a source much vaster than their own effort, and it was noticed by the secular public.

The two other teammates on the podium, Jayda Coleman and Alyssa Brito, affirmed Lyons initial statement and then added to it. “That is what makes our team so strong. We’re not afraid to lose because it’s not the end of the world … because our life is in Christ and that’s all that matters.” Coleman said. Brito mentioned the phrase “Eyes up” as something that the team latched on to. “We’re really fixing our eyes on Christ … because you can’t find your fulfillment in an outcome.”

Since the Sooners’ big win last Thursday, the public has been raving over the humble response of the team. The girls’ public declaration of their faith has gone viral and has induced an incredibly inspirational call for young athletes everywhere to find their joy in the Lord.

“No matter the outcome, whether we get a trophy in the end or not, this isn’t our home … we have an eternity of joy with our Father, and I’m just so excited about that,” Brito concluded.