Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Softball should return to Olympics


Five years from now it will still draw in crowds – probably bigger crowds as coverage increases. Five years from now, the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium could be empty in the summer, and there could be no Team USA to play international friendlies or scrimmage the junior national team. There is no chance to play in the Olympics right now.

That could change in five years. That should change in five years.

Five years from now, that stadium could be empty. Five years from now, Team USA could be practicing in Japan for the Olympics.

Softball, along with baseball and several other sports, has submitted proposals to be included in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

It’s time for softball’s biggest stage to move away from 
Oklahoma City.

“That is ultimately the pinnacle of the sport to be able to wear the red, white and blue in the Olympics,” UCLA softball head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said before the Women’s College World Series. “We still do have a national team, and I think the national team does a great job of being able to get the best athletes to be able to 
compete on the national level.”

Those who do compete on the national team aren’t strangers to the biggest stage in softball: the WCWS. Those currently on the team have graduated in the past four years or are still playing 
collegiate softball.

They’ve played on the biggest stage. The country has seen them play – this year was the most-viewed WCWS ever. It’s time for the world to see them play.

Jaclyn Traina, the pitcher who won Alabama the national title in 2012, is on the team along with current center fielder Haylie McCleney, the best outfielder in the conference 
and most likely the country.

If they’re still playing in five years – there is a professional softball league but there’s not much of a living to make there – they could play on an Olympic team.

As good as they are now – and they are good – they will be even better in five years.

“I think the unfair aspect of having a collegiate athlete especially women’s softball to be at the top of their game, I don’t think that will ever happen,” women’s national team head coach Ken Eriksen said in March. “The top of their game is going to be between the ages of 26 and 32 so hopefully they’re fortunate enough to continue to play.”

If you’ve seen McCleney or Sierra Romero play, that’s pretty exciting. If you’re the rest of the world, you have five years to scout them.

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