Danielle O’Toole has had a complicated softball career. She started at San Diego State before transferring to the University of Arizona. The talented lefty then pitched for Team USA before deciding to play for Mexico where she helped its national team earn an Olympic berth in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
“It’s incredible knowing we had done it for Mexico,” O’Toole toldAZCentral. “We were going to represent our ancestors and everyone who wanted this life for us. Being a part of something bigger than yourself is a great thing for our world, especially right now with everything going on.”
As the global pandemic forced the delay of the 2020 Olympics to the following summer, O’Toole’s chance to shine on the world’s brightest stage was delayed too. Despite it all, the former Pac-12 Player of the Year took it all in stride.
“It’s hard because it is disheartening, but it’s what needs to be done to keep not only the athletes but the staff, all the fans, everybody that’s coming, safe because we live in such uncertainty right now,” she toldAZdesertswarm.com. “So it’s hard to say this, but what’s another year in terms of sports when we’re talking about the health of millions of people?”
Eventually, O’Toole had her chance to shine for Team USA at the Olympics in July 2021 and pitched 17 innings.
O’Toole, who pitched in the National Fast Pitch softball league for the Chicago Bandits for three years, has authored a spectacular career and is one of only a handful of players who has played internationally for not one, but two counties. O’Toole says the experience of playing on a big stage has helped her become a better player.
“I think I have grown a lot playing with the national team both mentally and physically,” O’Toole told AZdesertswarm.com. “Once you get to this level, not growing isn’t an option. I have learned to be a better teammate, and how to embrace a couple of different roles on the team.”
O’Toole is now playing in the newly formed Athletes United softball league which gave her a chance to fine-tune her craft before the big event that could be the final one of her illustrious career.
“I have had a dream, an Olympic dream since I was 8, and if I do go it will be full circle and I’ll have an easier time saying goodbye,” she told Softball America. “My body is tired, I am always hurt or something, so that part makes it easier too. But I’m excited for the next part of my life to be a wife and to have kids and to be a mom.”