AKRON, OH – Akron Racers centerfielder A.J. Andrews’ exceptional talent and ability continues to lead her to do things no other active NPF player has done before. A year after becoming the first woman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, Andrews became the first active NPF player to appear in ESPN Magazine: The Body Issue. This year’s issue, which will appear in newsstands on Friday, July 7, includes Andrews and her Rawlings Gold Glove among 23 athletes in honor of the bodies that make them great at their respective sports.
“Every body is different and I think that what ESPN tries to do as far as really showing that muscle is beautiful,” Andrews said of the experience. “Every body is beautiful in its own way, and we each have different definition as it pertains to our sport to be successful.”
Andrews hopes that her willingness to be open about herself helps others be stronger and improve how they feel about themselves.
“Everybody is insecure about something, so to be vulnerable and to show the world those insecurities empowers not only those people, but empowers others.”
ESPN released a preview of the magazine online on Wednesday, July 5, which led to an outpouring of support from teammates and other NPF players reaching out to Andrews.
“Majority of the feedback that I’ve gotten has been really positive, people are really congratulating me and are excited for me,” Andrews said. “I feel like this has definitely helped a lot of people.”
Along with the photoshoot, the magazine and online content includes quotes from Andrews discussing everything from winning the Rawlings Gold Glove while fighting the pain of broken bones on her glove hand to messages about the struggles of body image facing female athletes to embracing the body that makes her athletic feats possible.
“Growing up I’ve always had really defined muscle tone, sometimes I’d be very insecure and wear long sleeves and different things like that (to cover my muscles),” Andrews said. “I know I’m not the only person that feels like that, because I’ve met a lot of other people that cover up their muscles or are insecure about how they feel about something.
“I just wanted to be a role model in general about self-love and appreciating your body. Everyone is different and it helps everyone succeed, I don’t want anyone to be ashamed of that.”
Andrews believes that this opportunity allows her the chance to further help young athletes, and all girls appreciate themselves and the body they have.
“I realized looking at the magazine that this was meant to empower women and it was meant to show how powerful and strong these women look and beautiful at the same time,” Andrews said.
The Racers are back in action at home at Firestone Stadium Friday, July 7 against the Chicago Bandits for the first game of a two-game series with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets contact the Akron Racers at 330-376-8188 or on the team’s website at www.akronracers.org.
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers will celebrate their 16th season of play in 2017. The Racers competed in the Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.