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Oklahoma softball players find joy in faith

Stephanie Martin of Church Leaders writes that players of the Oklahoma women’s softball team openly expressed their Christian faith during their College World Series run against Florida State. The University of Oklahoma Sooners previously won the title in 2021 and 2022.

When an ESPN reporter asked how the players maintain a positive attitude in the often high-pressure environment of college sports, three players cited their faith, helping them maintain a positive mindset. Several players regularly attend church together.

Martin continues:

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. Grasso 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.

Infielder Alyssa Brito explained the team’s “Eye’s Up” strategy, in which players point upward to indicate they’re “really fixing our eyes on Christ.” Brito, who was baptized last year by two teammates, said, “We know this game is giving us opportunities to glorify God. Once we figured that out…it’s really changed so much for us.”

Brito said when Jesus changed her outlook on life, that brought her much freedom and joy. Whether the season ends with a championship or not, she said, “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.” Brito concluded, “No matter what, my sisters in Christ will be there with me in the end, when we’re with our King.”

The Sooners, who haven’t lost a game since Feb. 19, have been criticized for their exuberant celebrations. But Coach Gasso said her players have no need to apologize for their energy level or excitement. Lyons said the celebrations aren’t meant to be disrespectful against opponents; they just play softball with passion.

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