Fall 2022

Oklahoma star Grace Lyons hosts conference for Christian college softball players

College softball players from around the country gathered in Norman, Oklahoma, this week for The Player’s Conference, a three-day event designed to help build a Christian community within college softball. The goal of the conference is to grow faith-based relationships and equip players to make an impact for God when they return to their teams.

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It was the brainchild of Oklahoma star and two-time national champion Grace Lyons. The idea of bringing together softball players came to her during the 2021 season, but she wasn’t sure exactly how she wanted to do it.

“I just had the idea of uniting college softball players,” Lyons said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast earlier this month. “I didn’t know what that was going to look like, but after the [2021] World Series, it came to me that I wanted to start a conference that got college softball players, so people in the same sport, together in one location to learn about God, study His Word, but also be encouraged and challenged to go back to your teams and have an influence.”

Less than two months after Lyons won her first national championship, the first Player’s Conference took place in Phoenix with more than two dozen college softball players in attendance. The conference includes guest speakers, community service projects and worship.

“I really can’t explain how amazing it was,” Lyons’ teammate Lynnsie Elam said of the 2021 conference. “Just the thought that Grace Lyons put into it and how smoothly it went, how creative it was and just how many hearts were touched.”

 

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This year, The Player’s Conference expanded to include an event for college baseball players in addition to the softball one. The baseball conference took place from Aug. 8-10 in Phoenix.

Starting a conference is just one of the many ways Lyons has used her status as one of the best softball players in the country to bring glory to God and share her faith. She also launched a clothing line inspired by 2 Corinthians 10:17, which says, “But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'” Some translations use the phrase “boast about the Lord,” which Lyons turned into the acronym B.A.T.L.

Lyons hit .401 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs as the Sooners repeated as national champions this past season. She was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for a second straight season and earned first-team All-American honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

 

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The Peoria, Arizona, native is slated to return for one more season at Oklahoma, and sees consistency as the key to building relationships with her teammates, whether they are believers or not.

“When I’m consistent, others respect that consistency, and that builds relationships automatically because they can trust you,” Lyons said on the podcast. “They can talk to you and ask questions because they know what they’re going to get. They know that you’re going to be loving towards them.”

She is still figuring out what she will do after her college career comes to an end, but knows she is a child of God above all else.

“We have our armor on — our softball uniform that disguises us — but under that … our faith is what we should be rooted in,” Lyons said on the podcast. “It’s just so cool to be able to have that as our identity, and it allows us to be able to go into all these different places in our lives because softball is just one part of my life.”

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