Sports Spectrum Weekly

UCLA's Stevie Wisz provides laughs, inspiration, faith in the Women's College World Series

As the UCLA women’s softball squad takes on Oklahoma in the Women’s College World Series, Stevie Wisz is lightening the mood in the Bruins dugout. The senior, who is primarily a pinch-runner, does whatever it takes to inspire her teammates.

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She also scored a run in UCLA’s surprising 16-3 rout of top-ranked Oklahoma on Monday in Game 1 of the three-game series. The teams will meet again Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, and either the Bruins will close it out or the Sooners will force a deciding Game 3 on Wednesday.

Helping out however she can will be Wisz, whose story is inspiring many. Diagnosed with aortic stenosis when she was a baby, Wisz had her first open-heart surgery at 9, her second at 15, and she’s now 100 percent dependent on a pacemaker to live. Before her senior year at UCLA, Wisz was told she would need yet another surgery, but she delayed it until after the softball season concludes.

Unashamed about her faith in Christ, Wisz explained to Sports Spectrum the impact God has had on her life.

What role has your faith played in your life? Specifically in terms of how you grapple with your heart complications?
Faith has played a significant role in the way I live, perceive, and embrace my life. Specific to my heart complications, my faith is what has helped me not only accept my condition but embrace it as well. My faith has helped me be content with the woman I am and trust that He has such a good plan for my life. From one surgery to the next, my faith is what has helped me overcome anything and everything I have endured in my life. I owe my entire life, my accomplishments and failures as well as everything in between, to my faith.

Have you ever struggled, wondering why God would let you go through all this? How do you process that?
Before I got to college, I had a lot of trouble with my condition. I would constantly ask God why He chose me. Why couldn’t He choose someone else? But when I got to college and grew into my faith, I realized that He chose me because He knew I could handle it and use it to inspire others. I now cherish and am so thankful for my condition because it has shaped me into the woman I am today and has helped me inspire people all over the country. Further, it has led me to where I am today, playing D-I softball with the best softball players in the nation.

What role does your faith play on your team? Is that something you and your teammates talk about at all? Are there other Christ-followers on the team?
Our team doesn’t talk much about faith but I know the girls on my team who share the same faith or are curious about my faith see it through the way I treat others, through my positive outlook on life, and through my work ethic. There are a select few on my team who are already Christians and there are several more who are coming to Christ as we speak, and/or curious about the Christian faith.

Do you have thoughts on a career post-college?
A career I have always dreamed of pursuing is a physician’s assistant in cardiology. However, if that doesn’t work out my goal is for whatever I do in life to help others and help them realize their potential.

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