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'Fixing our eyes on Christ': ESPN reporter asks nat'l champion Oklahoma softball players how they maintain 'joy' — and they all point to Jesus

The Oklahoma Sooners celebrate Grace Lyons' (#3) home run against the Florida State Seminoles during Game Two of the NCAA Division 1 Softball Championship, June 8, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

After the University of Oklahoma's softball team captured its third-straight national championship Thursday, an ESPN reporter asked a trio of players how they maintain "joy" under so much pressure.

All three of them pointed to their faith in Jesus Christ.

What are the details?

“You talked about keeping the joy of the game, but I’m curious, it’s a long season, right? And you guys have had the target on your back the entire time,” the reporter asked them. “How do you handle the unique pressure that comes with that? How do you keep the joy for so long when anxiety seems like a thing that could very easily set in?”

Infielder Grace Lyons replied, “Well, 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. ... Joy from the Lord is really the only thing that can keep you motivated, just in a good mindset no matter the outcomes."

Lyons added that "thankfully, we’ve had a lot of success this year, but if it was the other way around, joy from the Lord is the only thing that can keep you embracing those memories, moments, friendships. That’s really the only answer to that because there’s no other way that softball can bring you that because of how much failure comes in it and just how much of a rollercoaster the game can be."

Utility player Jayda Coleman added, "One thousand percent agree with Grace Lyons."

Coleman note that the Sooners won the national championship her freshman year, she was “so happy” but “didn’t feel joy.”

“I didn’t know what to do the next day. … I didn’t feel filled, and I had to find Christ in that,” Coleman explained.

What's more, she said that while the team's want-to-win spirit is strong, another kind of spirit is undergirding them.

“Yes, 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,” Coleman also said.

'Eyes up'

Alyssa Brito, also a utility player, told ESPN she and her teammates share a facial signal they've coined as “eyes up.”

“We’re really, like, fixing our eyes on Christ,” Brito noted.

"You can’t find a fulfillment in an outcome, whether it’s good or bad,” she further explained, adding that “I think that’s why we’re so steady in what we do and our love for each other and our love for the game because we know this game is giving us the opportunity to glorify God.”

Brito also told ESPN that after she “turned to Jesus,” everything about life changed — including her outlook on softball — and she knew “how much I have to live for, and that’s living to exemplify the kingdom.”

She also shared that “we have an eternity of joy with our Father, and I’m so excited about that. And yes, I live in the moment, but I know this isn’t my home, and no matter what, my sisters in Christ will be there with me in the end when we’re with our king.”

Anything else?

The Sooners beat Florida State 3-1 Thursday to capture a three-peat in the Women’s College World Series, ESPN noted, adding that the win capped an unbelievably dominant 61-1 record, as well as an NCAA Division I softball-record, 53-game winning streak

Oklahoma softball three-peats | Final out from 2023 WCWSyoutu.be

(H/T: The Daily Wire)

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