TOKYO – By the time you read this, you may already know that the US Olympic Softball Team has won the silver medal in the 2021 Olympic Games.
What you may not know is that the U.S. women’s team features several young Christian women who are strong, outspoken followers of Christ. Living in a way that pleases Him – on or off the field – is far more important to them than any award they can earn as elite softball players.
After the championship game, Janie Reed explained that
“Failure is just an opportunity to show people my hope, my joy, my peace is not in the game. It’s in Jesus, and to really try to show people who Jesus is and what it looks like to be a Christian.”
(Coincidently, Janie’s husband, Jake, made his major league baseball debut as a right-handed relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers three weeks ago.)
Janie has been an anchor in the outfield for the U.S. team, helping to lead the team to gold medals in the 2017 and 2019 Pan American Games and in the 2016 and 2018 World Championships.
Athletes like Janie often invest an inordinate time perfecting their skills. That’s why she firmly believes that she doesn’t “want to allow myself to be distracted from what God wants to reveal in me.”
“The thought of missing out on His voice in my life saddens me. But in order for the voice of God to increase in my life, I need to decrease the wants and distractions I’ve allowed to creep in. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I continue to press closer to God so that I may decrease, and He may increase.”
Cat Osterman had retired from softball but was invited to return by Team USA. Now 38 years old, Osterman has been acclaimed as the third Greatest College Softball Player and the #1 pitcher in NCAA history following her career at the University of Texas. Osterman’s eschewing of religion in favor of having a relationship with Christ has been rather recent, but she is bold in her faith, having made Christ the priority in her life.
Nikki Udria is an infielder who is also the head softball coach at BIOLA University.
These women long with Ali Aguilar, Aubree Munro, and Michelle Moultrie, are using their profession and athletic prowess to “merge the worlds of faith and athletics . . . sharing the love and presence of Christ to coaches, families, and athletes.” Special events, camps, faith nights, power weekends, and pre-game chapel services provide the platform for Church on the Dirt to disciple young girls, their parents, and coaches not only how to play the game of softball but also how to live to please our Lord.
All the gold, silver, and bronze medals the world has to offer are meaningless to the ladies who are the Church on the Dirt. Their treasures are the ones they are laying up in heaven.
- Sports Spectrum, U.S. wins silver behind strong Christian core in softball’s return to Olympics
- The Christian Post, Strong Christian core anchors US softball team in game’s return to Olympics
- Church on the Dirt, Faith + Softball