If You’re Not Watching This, You Should Be…

Are you watching softball?

I know that is probably a strange question.  You’re thinking, “Are you asking if I have been to the park lately to watch a local beer league?”

No, that’s not what I’m asking.  I’m wondering if you are you watching the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS).

It’s the sport that, according to one NCAA blogger, is right now breaking their own attendance records.

Amidst the Lakers vs. Celtics NBA Championships, amidst the Philadelphia Flyers vs. Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup, alongside the Men’s College World Series, there is another championship taking place, where women throw two ends of a double header, teammates support each other on every swing, and the cheering…from the benches…never stops.

Women’s collegiate softball.

If you’re not watching, you’re missing out.  I had never paid attention to this sport myself, but I was hooked a while back while flipping through the stations.  On ESPNU, the rivalries were just heating up.  Defending champ Washington’s freight train Danielle Lawrie was pitching, breaking the back of yet another team in her amazing career.  Relative unknown Hawai’i was coming out of nowhere to establish themselves as real contenders.  The Perennial Arizona Wildcats were struggling to stay in it.  And the Huskies lost in what at least one commentator considered one of the oddest (and most controversial) games she’d ever seen.

And now?  It’s Arizona vs. UCLA for the title.  Starting tonight.

Women’s sports often don’t get the respect they deserve.  However, that doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t as high and the competition as intense.  The players genuinely seem to be interested in winning, instead of posturing, worrying about shoe deals, or shifting blame.

And in this world…especially in the sports world…that’s rare and refreshing.  We live in a time of zero accountability and, often, a very me-oriented-you-blaming approach to everything, from oil spills to team sports.  It often seems less about friendly competition and more about ego.  So, when something like the WCWS comes along, well, it’s a nice change-up.

Are you watching softball?

You should be.

June 7, 8pm E.T., ESPN2

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