I closely followed this year’s WCWS. Here’s what I learned — and why it’s my new tradition.

Brett Esch
3 min readJul 10, 2021
Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts — image via AL.com

Every summer, numerous sports hit their playoff stride. From the NBA to the NHL to the MLB, professional leagues vie for the fan’s attention on a daily basis. And while these matchups and seven-game series provide plenty of entertainment, there’s just something missing in the passion element of what makes sports great — whether it’s caused by the abundance of free agency or another unclear factor.

That’s why for the first time in my life, I made the decision to closely follow something I hadn’t before: the Women’s College World Series.

For the sake of transparency, I’m not going to tell you about how many regular season games I watched — which could be counted on one hand — or my extensive knowledge of each WCWS-eligible team’s roster. In fact, there’s only one school in America I could confidently rattle off softball-related information about, and that’s Bethel College: the institution I’m currently attending.

However, in the first post-COVID (can we say that now?) summer of sports, I shifted my primary focus away from the NBA playoffs and the Men’s College World Series. Instead, I treated myself to a healthy dose of James Madison’s Lynsey Meeks and Alabama’s Montana Fouts.

And, man, if it wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made. From Fouts’ perfect game to eventually send UCLA packing to Meeks’ uncanny ability to hype up her teammates, the Women’s College World Series simply does not fail to leave you on the edge of your seat with seemingly every pitch.

The reasoning for this is quite cut-and-dry: it offers a little bit — scratch that — a lot of everything. From high-powered batting and lighting up the scoreboard to pitching duels that create an elevated level of importance with each swing of the bat, the sport (at this level of play) is naturally accompanied by a sense of anticipation and excitement. These are traits that baseball, both at the professional and collegiate levels, simply don’t offer — for a reason I’m still struggling to discover.

So while I’ve happily agreed with myself to make WCWS viewing a yearly tradition, it’s also important to point out what I’ve learned during the course of what ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza called the “most-watched and most anticipated” Women’s College World Series in quite some time.

Due to the absurd amount of weather delays that have plagued this year’s edition of the WCWS, I’ve taken to Twitter regularly to check for updates on revised start times and highlights of earlier games. Most of these highlights, as one could assume, are posted by ESPN on their main subsidiary accounts.

When scrolling through the replies to these tweets, it’s hard — okay, impossible — to miss the low-hanging fruit jokes that flood comment sections under posts of women’s athletics. From one-word responses such as “kitchen” to more thought out statements like “no one cares, NBA is on,” it shows an epidemic that is running rampant in the sports community — especially when it comes to collegiate softball.

Once again, for the sake of transparency, there was a time I found these jokes humorous. But after only one summer of watching these high-level athletes that take the field in Oklahoma City do what they love for who they love, all I see in those same comment sections is plain ignorance.

That’s because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching this year’s Women’s College World Series. And while the amount of attention (and respect) for the sport has increased, Twitter has clearly shown me that there’s still plenty of work to be done. And as Aleimalee Lopez puts it:

Originally published at https://baesch.substack.com.

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Brett Esch

Native Texan. Communication Arts major at Bethel College. Sports and freelance journalist.