Going to Oklahoma City is always fun, even when you're on the losing end of the ballgame.
Going to Oklahoma City is always fun, even when you’re on the losing end of the ballgame.
I went down there last weekend to watch the NCAA Super Regional softball playoffs. I am a Tennessee fan, and that is a long way off, so since they were playing in Norman, it seemed like a chance to actually get to see them live.
I have been a college softball fan for a few years now, and it isn’t just because its healthy looking young college women running around playing the game. They can really play.
This is a far cry from softball that is played in sandlots and vacant fields.
The pitcher’s circle is closer to the home plate than it is in baseball. In college softball the distance is 43 feet, and in baseball it is 60 feet.
This means the batter has less time to react. A 60 MPH softball from 43 feet requires about the same amount of reflex required from a 90 MPH baseball from 60 feet.
Most upper level pitchers in college get up to 70 MPH, and some even more, with their fastball. Then they throw in things like a riser or a drop ball, and a slower pitch in the mix, and hitting becomes a real challenge.
A great pitcher can dominate a game. The motion a softball pitcher uses is also more natural. The game is much faster than baseball.
There is not a lot of time taken between pitches, or in getting ready to make a pitch. They get up there and throw it, so the game moves faster.
Oklahoma and Tennessee both had good – not upper level great – pitchers, and some really good hitters. It was also a rematch of last year’s championship series, so I was hoping for some revenge.
It was not to be though. There were a lot of rain delays, and the three-game series lasted until Sunday evening instead of finishing up Saturday afternoon.
Oklahoma was the better team. Both teams had their stars, but the Sooners were able to make plays when it mattered.
But I have to tip my hat to Sooner fans. They are loud and proud in their love for the team, but they are still good sports and gracious hosts.
Ive been part of the “enemy” at a few Oklahoma sports events now, and every time I have felt good about the experience.
While iI was on the losing end last weekend, I have been to Oklahoma games when I was wearing and supporting the colors of the other side and the Sooners lost. In both cases there were the same results. They win with grace and lose with class.
The people I was around were real sports fans. They even applauded politely when Tennessee made a good play. There was some good-natured kidding, but nothing offensive in any way.
I have been to stadiums or courts where it is not this way.
Because of that it’s easy to jump on the Sooner bandwagon for the upcoming College World Series.
James Jordan is editor at the Wellington Daily News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org