Softball legend Cat Osterman tells Deadspin about her return to Olympic Games

Cat Osterman returns to the Olympics at age 38.Cat Osterman returns to the Olympics at age 38.Picture: APCat Osterman will put on a special quantity when she steps onto the Tokyo filth this summer season — 38. It was her tryout quantity for USA softball after taking a number of years away from enjoying the sport. She wore No. 8 when she received Olympic gold in 2004 and silver in 2008 and in her storied profession at Texas. Now, in her third Olympics, No. 38 appears remarkably becoming — particularly as a result of Osterman is 38 years outdated.The three-time Nationwide Participant of the Yr, four-time All-American, and former assistant school softball coach is again on the nationwide staff to assist Group USA attempt to win its fourth Olympic gold. Osterman is certainly one of two gamers on Group USA with Olympic expertise. However she is the one participant on the 2021 staff who has received gold.Now, forward of a postponed Olympics, Osterman lately spoke with Deadspin about her street to Tokyo and expectations for the Video games. She additionally mentioned what it feels wish to get to an age the place her greatest followers in ’04 and ’08 are actually her teammates in ’21.Dustin Foote: I do know the Olympics are arising, however earlier than we get to that, can you are taking me again to final 12 months? I wish to know what your ideas have been once you heard the Tokyo 2020 video games have been going to be postponed.G/O Media could get a commissionCat Osterman: I can’t say that I didn’t count on it. As soon as we broke tour, we have been despatched dwelling, and also you simply type of noticed how every part was unfolding. I completely anticipated some kind of delay or postponement… Once they got here out and mentioned it was a 12 months postponement, whereas that appeared like a really very long time, I made probably the most of it and simply set out a plan to have the ability to practice at dwelling on my own. After which as soon as January hit this 12 months, we have been allowed to get collectively as a staff once more. All of us type of picked up the place we left off, however [we also] discovered methods to determine the right way to keep sharp whereas we have been at dwelling. It was a psychological problem. I imply, you get to some extent the place you’re beginning to rely down the times to have the ability to head over to the largest stage in your sport. After which abruptly it’s halted. So mentally, all of us needed to regroup for a bit, however we’re again on monitor and able to go.DF: What’d you make of the choice to go forward and put softball again within the Olympics after a protracted [13-year] hiatus?CO: I feel it’s thrilling for our sport. This sport is one that’s extremely contested globally. I feel the frequent fan doesn’t see that should you don’t comply with it within the years in between Olympics. Nevertheless it’s such an incredible sport that enables so many several types of feminine athletes to have the ability to achieve success. And so I’m tremendous excited to see it again within the Olympics right here for 2021. DF: How has the final 12 months been for you personally? CO: You understand, personally, I needed to discover methods to have the ability to practice. I couldn’t essentially go to the gymnasium that I used to be coaching at on a regular basis. I couldn’t simply go throw to any catcher or to public cages. My husband volunteered, so he’s been catching me. We’ve turned an additional bed room into a house gymnasium. [I’ve] simply been in a position to actually discover methods to proceed to coach on the degree that I knew I wanted to, particularly since I’m somewhat bit older. DF: So that you talked about age, albeit briefly. I took a take a look at the staff USA roster and, um, I’m attempting to place this as properly as I presumably can, let’s simply say you’re not the youngest one of many bunch such as you have been in ‘04 or ‘08. What retains you motivated to compete on the highest degree properly into your 30s?CO: Yeah, properly, I took somewhat little bit of a hiatus. DF: Proper.CO: I retired for about 2½, three years, which gave me somewhat little bit of time away from the sport and simply to type of, , regroup so to talk. However, for probably the most half, I’m actually motivated for this youthful era. I feel there was an Olympic dream that they misplaced as a result of [softball] obtained voted out after 2008. To have the ability to be a part of this journey with them and hopefully give them an opportunity to face on that prime podium in Tokyo, that’s actually what motivates me on a regular basis. I need them to expertise that very same wonderful accomplishment and people wonderful emotions that I used to be in a position to at a younger age. That basically is why I got here out of retirement to hopefully enable them to be on that prime step and have that gold medal hanging from their neck.DF: What’s it wish to play with — I assume — some of us that appeared as much as you rising up? CO: It’s completely different. However I used to be of their sneakers as soon as, too. I obtained to check out in opposition to Lisa Fernandez and Michele Smith, who I appeared as much as. So, , it’s a full circle second. However it’s a little bit completely different when you will have Bubba Nickles (23 years outdated) inform you that she had a poster of you on her wall. They hold me youthful than I actually am.DF: So what can we count on out of Group USA this 12 months on the Olympics? CO: This staff is a enjoyable staff to observe. They benefit from the sport otherwise than groups I’ve been a part of up to now. So that you’ll get to see that love of the sport out on the sector, however they’re extremely aggressive as properly. It’s enjoyable simply to have the ability to take the sector and know that each pitch of each sport we’re competing in. We’re in a position to try this proper now on our tour sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Items. We’re so lucky that they’ve been in a position to assist us be capable of practice and put together. In order that after we get to Tokyo, we’re on the prime of our sport as a result of we all know that Japan, Mexico, Canada, everybody’s going to be gunning for us.DF: Over in Japan, there have been some calls to cancel or postpone the video games attributable to COVID over the previous few weeks and months. Is that one thing that you just’re involved about heading into the Olympics, despite the fact that now all programs appear “go?”CO: To be sincere, if I don’t hear it from the Japanese Olympic committee or the USOPC, I’m not taking something an excessive amount of to coronary heart. I’m going to organize as if we’re nonetheless going and till I get some official phrase, then I’ll fear about it. Nevertheless it’s not in my management. So proper now I’m going to deal with what I can management and that’s being as ready as doable come July.This dialog has been edited for size and readability.

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