Janie Takeda-Reed is an Oregon softball legend.
If it weren’t for the need to tell a short story, the aforementioned sentence is all any reader would need to know. Mainly, because it’s right to the point.
For those who may be unfamiliar with her, Takeda-Reed was a three-time NFCA All-American and a three-time first-team All-Pac-12. She holds Oregon records in hits (309), runs (204), doubles (42), and stolen bases (102). Coupled with her all-time marks, she also holds the single-season record for triples (8) and is a member of the 300 hits, 200 runs, 100 stolen bases club.
Her marks and standout performances in the green and white led her to join USA Softball and propelled her to becoming a silver medalist at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Takeda-Reed joined the latest Talkin’ Ducks podcast to discuss her path to the team.
“It’s been a crazy journey,” Takeda-Reed said. “Just going as a fan of USA Softball and the Olympic team to then growing up in the sport and feeling as I got to college that I maybe had a chance to try out for this sport. I remember going to their tour in ‘08 and we went and watched the game at Cal Fullerton. I remember after that, my sister and I, she’s two-and-a-half years older than me, we started practicing our autographs in elementary school. It was never an actual thought I could be on that team. It was kind of like a pipe dream.”
Since she was a kid, the sport of softball has been in her mind. Interestingly, not so much representing her country.
Maybe it’s because such an accomplishment seemed unreachable -- a common feeling when pursuing dreams. Yet despite the seemingly tall task, Takeda-Reed willed her way to becoming a better player, and it all started at Oregon.
“As I got older and I went to Oregon and started having more success, I really felt like maybe I could at least get a tryout,” she said. “Getting on the team in 2015, the year before it was named an Olympic sport for 2020. It was a long journey, but it was very surreal but also so satisfying to be at the games, compete at the games and hold that medal. It was all worth it.”
In the gold medal game, she compiled two hits in Team USA’s 2-0 loss to Team Japan.
She defied her internal odds, left Oregon a legend, and became an Olympic medalist. A pretty good story for someone who started practicing their signature as a teenager for future fans.