SEC softball honored with 2017-18 Sportsmanship Award for support of Mississippi State's Alex Wilcox
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – As freshman outfielder Alex Wilcox continued her lengthy battle with ovarian cancer, Mississippi State softball created its "No One Fights Alone" campaign to rally around Wilcox and the message took on a life of its own.
Across the Southeastern Conference, every member of the league's softball program showed their support for Wilcox. On Wednesday, the league office honored the collective group of SEC softball teams as the women's recipient of the 11th annual SEC Sportsmanship Award.
"Empathy for others, even when they are your opponent in competition, is the definition of sportsmanship, and I am proud of this year's recipients because they set a standard that is true to the values of the Southeastern Conference," said Commissioner Greg Sankey.
The campaign began in Starkville with the Bulldogs donning teal uniforms and holding a moment of silence during midweek contests to bring awareness to ovarian cancer, which Wilcox was diagnosed with in December of 2015. Wilcox is still currently undergoing treatments for ovarian cancer.
It did not take long before Wilcox's story spread across the SEC.
"From sending encouraging videos, letters and social media posts to hanging posters in dugouts, every team in the SEC has shown unwavering and selfless support to a very special young woman and has brought MSU's season rallying cry to life that truly no one fights alone," said Mississippi State Athletics Director John Cohen.
The @SEC Sportsmanship Award is not enough to say thank you to our #SECSB Community for its selfless and unwavering support of @Alex_wilcox8!— MSU Softball (@HailStateSB) June 14, 2018
: https://t.co/EbEUF5fNNm#HailState | #NoOneFightsAlone pic.twitter.com/kdZttkQOMN
As the season progressed, every softball team in the SEC came together to show support for Wilcox and Mississippi State softball. Whether the Bulldogs were home or away, opposing teams held moments of silence to honor those fighting the disease, showed video pieces produced by MSU during pregame activities or wore teal uniforms, batting practice tops and ribbons. Even conference teams that MSU did face over the 2018 season displayed their support for Wilcox.
Some programs, including MSU's in-state rival Ole Miss, displayed Wilcox's name on pregame gear and helmets or worn bracelets with Wilcox's name and "No One Fights Alone" written across them.
"We have been humbled by the outpouring of support from our SEC softball community," said Mississippi State head softball coach Vann Stuedeman. "Every school touched our hearts as they reached out in support of Alex, our MSU softball family and our 'No One Fights Alone Campaign.' The strength that we have drawn from your prayers and encouragement is the definition of the SEC - It Just Means More. We are grateful."