NORMAN, Okla. – A former Sooner softball star who is known for her work on the softball field is hoping to inspire young women following a recent photo shoot.
While at the University of Oklahoma, Lauren Chamberlain set the NCAA home run record with 95 career home runs and even was a top 10 finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
She now plays for the USSSA Pride, but is now making headlines for posing in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue 2018.
Chamberlain says she posed in the magazine to show young women that you don’t have to be a certain size to love yourself and be successful.
“I don’t think I said yes for myself necessarily. I said yes for the girls around the world who might see the issue and see someone who looks like them– someone who’s thicker, bigger, not as jacked as the typical athlete–and that could give them that boost to love their bodies,” she said.
Chamberlain says she always hated shopping when she was younger because she never fit in to the typical ‘thin’ size. In fact, she would try to squeeze into certain sizes or would refuse to buy clothes.
"[Softball] taught me to appreciate my body and what it's capable of…we really need to focus on getting younger girls into sports so they can see their bodies working in a positive way." Thank you @LChamberlain44 & @espn https://t.co/Dkk7dvg7kz #womenwhoinspire #womeninsport
— Charlotte Miller (@charswimswim) November 21, 2018
When she reached college, Chamberlain says her mindset shifted and she began to appreciate what her body could do on and off the softball field.
“Any time I went against my body and didn’t give it what it needed in an attempt to achieve a societal norm, I let myself down. Sometimes, in high school and early college when I was dealing with insecurities about my body, not eating was disrespectful to my body. Not giving it what it needs to perform in order to achieve a certain look. If we’re being honest, it just became stupid at a certain point. You’re after this unattainable look, this Instagram look, and it’s not achievable. I still deal with that insecurity. How am I not shaped and curved like that Instagram model? But you know what? She can’t hit a ball like me or move like me. She can’t do what I can do,” she said.
Chamberlain says she doesn’t think she was ever considered small, and has grown to love her legs and her thighs because of how strong they are.
Chamberlain is one of several Sooners to pose for the magazine, including Adrian Peterson and Blake Griffin.