Chat with Natasha Watley
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, USA Softball's Natasha Watley stops by to chat as a part of ESPN.com's tribute to Black History Month.
A California native, Watley played collegiately at UCLA, graduating in 2003. She led UCLA to three straight Women's College World Series, winning the national title in 2003. Watley stays active in the community through her charity work.
Send your questions now and join Watley Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT!
Buzzmaster (3:48 PM)
Natasha will be here soon to answer your softball questions!
Buzzmaster (3:55 PM)
Natasha is here!
mr littlejohn (tulsa,ok)
wow sugar foot, you have achevied alot through your years. may i ask whats been your most valued achievement?
Natasha Watley (3:56 PM)
Good question. Winning a gold medal was probably the pinnacle of my career. Winning a national championship at UCLA was my foundation of becoming a good athlete. That's where I came into my own.
Ray A. (San Diego, CA)
Would you ever consider coaching softball? I'm sure there are a lot of college programs out there that could use your knowledge!
Natasha Watley (3:57 PM)
I am a coach. I'm actually at UCLA as we speak! When I am not playing, I'm the assistant coach here. It allows me to stay in shape.
How disappointing to not have softball in the olympics?
Natasha Watley (3:58 PM)
Very disappointing. It's horrible. It's unfortunate that the young girls might not have that opportunity. We're hoping that it does come back.
Maria (San Francisco)
Why so you think there are so few African-American softball players at the travel ball, NCAA and National Team levels?
Natasha Watley (3:59 PM)
I think there's a lot of things that can account for that. Primarily in the areas where it's being played, there aren't a lot of African-American girls. Softball is an expensive sport to play. You've got your bats, your balls. There might not be a lot of African-American girls that are aware of it's a sport that you can play. I've start a not-for-profit to help bring awareness to the sport as another outlet for something for people to become successful in.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Have you ever played Softball at a Major League Baseball Stadium? If Yes Which Major League Baseball Stadium that you played Softball at?
Natasha Watley (4:00 PM)
I have not played at a Major League Baseball stadium. I've played in baseball stadiums. I play professionally in Japan and we play in baseball stadiums there.
Does Ex-Wildcat Jennie Finch rank as the top softball player of all time?
Natasha Watley (4:01 PM)
Of course! She's been an amazing teammate. I competed against her in college. She ranks up there as one of the best. On our national team alone we have so many talented players.
Do you buy into it that the US was so dominant in the sport that's why it's not in the olympics?
Natasha Watley (4:03 PM)
I don't think so. The awareness of softball wasn't there. I don't think that was the reason at all. There are so many sports where teams are dominant in and they are still in the games. I don't think that's a justified reason at all.
Who do you have winning the national championship?
Natasha Watley (4:03 PM)
Natasha Watley (4:03 PM)
They look really good this year. We have a lot of talent and we're young, which is the most impressive.
Sherry (Los Angeles)
Hi Natasha,who are the best pitchers you've ever hit against?
Natasha Watley (4:04 PM)
For sure, Lisa Fernandez, Cat, Jennie Finch, Moncia. All of them are my teammates and I'm thankful that I am behind them and don't have to face them other than in practice.
How do you prepare now that Team USA doesn't have the olympics?
Natasha Watley (4:05 PM)
It makes it a little difficult. We have the world championships. We still have the World Cup that we host in Oklahoma. We still have international competitions. It's hard to prepare each year knowing that in the fourth year we don't have the competition. It doesn't mean anything less. The sport hasn't died. It's still a sport.
Do you think fast pitch leagues can be successful in the states?
Natasha Watley (4:06 PM)
They can be and are successful. We have a league now that's four teams. I play for the team in Orlando. There's a team in Knoxville, Chicago and Akron. We're spread out, but we're trying to grow the number of teams.
Natasha Watley (4:07 PM)
It's very nice to chat with everybody. Those were some great questions. Look out for Team USA this summer!
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