Cat Osterman plans to be just as busy retiring as she was during one of the greatest softball careers ever.
The left-handed American pitcher closes a decorated career where she won an Olympic gold medal and two silver and last year became the first individual softball champion in Athletes Unlimited.
Monday is the last day of the Athletes Unlimited season. Then, the 38-year-old Osterman will shift his focus to being the wife, stepmother and director of a youth softball program.
“I find a balance between excitement, sadness, relief – there is a bit of it all,” she said. “I’m excited to close this chapter. I know in my heart and mind that it’s time to be done. It has nothing to do with physicality and everything to do with just life. It’s time to go to tackle something else. “
Osterman was a three-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year at the University of Texas, and then had a dominant career with National Pro Fastpitch. She joined Athletes Unlimited last year while looking for a way to stay competitive as the Olympics were delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic. She decided after winning the title that she would play one last season after the Tokyo Games. She was dominant at the Olympics and threw 14 2/3 pointless innings. She started the gold medal game against Japan and threw five pointless innings in the Americans’ 2-0 loss. The United States also won silver in 2008 and gold in 2004.
“The Olympic experience was different, but at the same time we knew we were still over in the leading sports arena at the highest stage,” she said. “I mean, you can not deny that it was an Olympics. It was different without fans. And obviously COVID protocols changed, even with the villages a little bit. But for the most part, we just focused on playing our game. It was different, but at the same time still thoroughly exciting. “
Although she will not win the Athletes Unlimited title this year, Osterman has been one of the league’s best players. She came in last weekend ranked 10th out of 61 players in points.
She is happy with the way her race ends.
“Softball has been the love of my life for a long time,” she said. “And it’s sad to know that I’m going away from it. But at the same time, I honestly do not know what else I could give it. So there’s a relief in just knowing that I’m going away on my own terms.”
Jon Patricof, CEO and co-founder of Athletes Unlimited, said Osterman helped give the softball league credibility.
“I think Cat played with us and then played so well last season and was such a constructive and positive member of the playing community on the pitch, but also off the pitch is probably one of the most important things that has happened. in the short history of Athletes Unlimited, “said Patricof. “She really contributed tremendously.”
She will still contribute to the sport. Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program has a subsidiary in Austin, Texas – where Osterman played college football. RBI Austin approached her to add a softball program, and she has agreed to take over as director.
“I just thought it was a great opportunity for some of these girls who might not get a chance to understand one what softball is but two, try it and see if it evokes a passion,” she said. “Because, you know, if we do not introduce it, they do not know what opportunities may open up.”
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