Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Oklahoma’s Professional Softball Team: “We Didn’t Start the Fire”!!! 

By Dee Wright

During the sixth inning of every home game, the fans of Oklahoma’s professional softball team turn on their cell phone lights and chant the words to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”!!! 

“We didn’t start the fire 

It was always burning, since the world’s been turning 

We didn’t start the fire 

But when we are gone 

It will still burn on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on,” 

Ok maybe the OKC Spark and their fans didn’t start the fire that is professional women’s softball, but they did spark an interest that is growing across the state, maybe even the nation. 

In the inaugural season of the Oklahoma City Spark, one of the four original teams for the Women’s Professional Fastpitch league, the team started a small blaze in the community of softball lovers. WPF and Spark hope that flame turns into a passion, with sports fans across the nation. In this first season, fans of softball have been treated to new sensation during the months after the Women’s College World Championships and the beginning of the college softball season. The Spark and the other teams of the WPF had the intention of playing great softball while some fans watched. It has grown into obsession with young fans from Sayre to Poteau, Oklahoma. This growing firestorm is evident in the amount of people that showed up for the first and last home games, which was record seating for the league. The largest consistent numbers of crowds have been in OKC, more than any other city the WPF has teams in or any city that hosted a barnstorming event this year. 

Who is playing for your Oklahoma City Spark? The Spark has nine original players: Jocelyn Alo, Chelsea Alexander, Lynnsie Elam, Fa Leilua, Michelle Moultrie, Keilani Ricketts, Keely Rochard, Sydney Sherrill and Sami Williams. Then in the WPF draft in April, Okc added Alex Storako as the number one overall draft selection. In the third round, the Spark chose pitcher Chenise Delce. Next was utility player Haley Lee as the first pick of the fourth round. The majority of the players on the Spark have some sort of tie to the state of Oklahoma. Whether the players were raised in Oklahoma, played college 

softball in the state, or competed for the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. With that type of line up, the Spark have gathered a team of players who can build a fan base and a winning team. 

Whenever you go to an OKC Spark game, be prepared to find the joy that is competitive competition and wide-eyed enthusiasm. As you enter the stadium you are overwhelmed by a feeling of walking into a real live version of The baseball movies “Field of Dreams” or “A League of their Own” The ladies on the field are throwing and catching every ball with pure joy. A kind of happiness that you only see on the face of little league team, just having fun, enjoying the game. When you look in the stands of the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, you will see hundreds of little girls (and some boys) in softball jerseys from across the state of Oklahoma. You will see Spark Jerseys, College jerseys, and countless little league softball jerseys. Whenever you look at the faces of every person in the ballpark. The kids are in awe of the players as if they are looking into their own future. The players look at the fans with a hint of disbelief, and nostalgia. The people who love softball but never got to play it professionally have a proud grin on their face, as if they knew this day would come. This was the feelings of the opening day crowd as well as everyone who came to the last home game of the season. 

The feeling you get when you are around the OKC Spark Organization is a feeling of that you are witnessing something special. This group of people, this organization, this team didn’t start the fire that is Spark Nation, but the passion for women’s professional softball is growing. 

In my next column I will give you statistics from Okc Sparks first year in review.

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