NORMAN — In less than 72 hours, the softball coach watched and re-watched the film of her team winning the national championship more times than she'll willingly admit.
Oklahoma's Patty Gasso keeps seeing things she doesn't remember. She keeps skipping to the end to make sure it actually happened.
“I've probably done that about four or five times,” Gasso said. “I think that helps me understand. Is that really us? Is that us? Did we really do that?”
On Friday, OU's national championship team gathered one last time at Marita Hynes Field to celebrate with about 800 of their fans. The scoreboard in the outfield was illuminated with three runs in the third inning and one in the seventh to signify the Game 2 victory over Tennessee, which marked the program's second national title.
Both Jessica Shults and Michelle Gascoigne agreed the reality hadn't hit them.
Gascoigne did like her coach. That night after winning the national title, she went back and watched the game. She fell asleep by the fourth inning. She already knew the ending.
The ceremony back at their home field in Norman made it a little more real, as they put up a banner on the outfield that proclaimed them national champions.
“I'm honored to join you in celebrating one of the best, if not the very best team in college softball history,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione told fans. “It's truly a team for the ages.”
Fans were treated to highlights from each game of the Women's College World Series. They clapped at runs and stood cheering and hollering as the video screen showed their Sooners celebrating the championship.
“I love this team because of the chemistry, and I love that they play for something more,” said Mary Delany, a longtime OU softball fan and secretary of the Diamond Club.
JP Audas, another longtime Sooner softball fan and the associate vice president for alumni and development at Oklahoma said: “They're a metaphor for life. Instead of folding from their disappointments they've grown from it and gotten stronger. I just think that's what life is all about. Taking your challenges, fighting through them and being rewarded for it.”
For nearly 12 minutes, Gasso fought through tears and encouraging rounds of applause as she described to fans what fueled her team's historic run.
“Last season, the greatest moment of our softball career and the worst was in one day,” Gasso said. “Watching a team celebrate at our feet, when I could look in the eyes of our team and I knew we were going to win it. ... then the rains showed up and things started to change a little bit. Things we couldn't control. Watching that moment is something I will never forget because it changed this team.”
When the team got back together in late August, they talked about that loss to Alabama in the 2012 WCWS finals, Gasso said tears were “still streaming.”
The tears turned into something deeper this season when two EF-5 tornadoes hit Oklahoma in two weeks. Sydney Angle, a youth softball player in the Moore community, was a victim. The team was inspired by Angle.
“This is because of Sydney,” Gasso said. “The night we were supposed to play Texas A&M in the Super Regionals, we got rained out. Instead, we spent time with Bring It (Angle's softball team). It was like a divine intervention that said: ‘You're not playing tonight. You're playing a different game. It's called relay races.'
“Because of Sydney, it changed the life of this team and we knew we needed to play for something different. It changed our perspective on softball. It was like this team was telling us, ‘Hey guys, softball is fun. Get the pressure off. Get over yourselves. Go do what you do.' That's what Sydney would do. And that's what we did.”