Oklahoma Sooners softball legend Jocelyn Alo cried at the thought of leaving softball behind because opportunities for women remain scant at the pro level.
After winning her second consecutive National Championship for Oklahoma in the 2022 Women’s College World Series, Sooners softball hero Jocelyn Alo was in tears.
Winning another one for Norman is guaranteed to be an emotional moment for any Sooners athlete, but Alo’s words were particularly heartbreaking.
“I love this game and I’m sad to be walking away from it,” Alo said.
The redshirt senior who dominated headlines throughout the series as the “best power hitter in softball history” saw a fitting end to a historic collegiate career, one where she earned honors such as the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and the 2021 Big 12 Player of the Year.
Unfortunately, the end of college means the end of an illustrious career for Alo, because the United States still doesn’t have a professional women’s softball league that allows players like Alo to make millions the way MLB counterparts are able to do.
While the United States first had a professional women’s softball league in 1976, professional leagues have not been able to garner the same traction as the 146-year-old MLB, which was founded in 1876. The late 1990s saw a surge in women’s professional sports leagues, with professional soccer, basketball and football leagues being created for women around this time.
The National Pro Fastpitch league was founded in 2004, but due to cancelled seasons in 2020 and 2021, the league finally folded in 2021. This June, its successor, the Women’s Pro Fastpitch league, begins its inaugural season with two teams: the USSSA Pride and the Smash It Sports Vipers.
Sooners softball legend Jocelyn Alo wonders if she can continue the game after WCWS win
According to their website, the WPF is “the official professional softball league in the United States, founded by USA Softball, USSSA, and Smash It Sports.”
“WPF will showcase the best athletes in softball, provide a world-class experience for fans, and connect young girls to their idols,” their website continues.
In a powerful campaign titled #ProtectHerDream, WPF illuminated the stark contrast between young boys and girls who love the diamond.
The campaign is anything but theoretical: Alo’s words after her crowning achievement are a disconcerting reminder that opportunities for women in softball at the professional level remain severely limited.
Throughout several leagues, there are hundreds of professional baseball teams throughout North America and the Caribbean. There are currently two teams in the WPF.
In the 2022 WCWS, Jocelyn Alo and her teammates solidified a dynasty. On Thursday, they claimed their sixth title in program history. Oklahoma’s men’s team won the College World Series once, and that was back in 1951.
As ESPN said, “Jocelyn Alo’s impact on softball will be felt for years to come.” Jocelyn should have equal opportunity to play the game she loves as one of its greatest players of all time.