June 25th marks two years since the passing of Alex Wilcox. While an innumerable amount of people have left a legacy on the sport of softball since the game’s invention, few did so as quickly and as vibrantly as Wilcox.
Wilcox passed away in 2018, just days shy of her 19th birthday. She put up an incredibly brave fight against ovarian cancer, even working with her team in the fall of 2017 despite going through radiation treatments at the same time. Wilcox’s courage, even as a teenager, was and is utterly awe-inspiring.
Alex Wilcox played in eight games for Mississippi State during the 2018 season; even in the midst of her ongoing cancer treatments, she found strength to play the game that she loved. Wilcox’s legacy is cemented on the game of softball, as well as the Mississippi State program and athletic department, and it has nothing to do with any on-field exploits.
If there’s a photo out there where Wilcox isn’t smiling, you’d be hard-pressed to find it. A young woman so full of life that, even as cancer slowly stole that life from her, she inspired people across the country and the world. Because of Wilcox’s enduring fight, every team in the SEC now participates in raising awareness of ovarian cancer, many by designating a “Teal Game” on their schedule to spotlight the fight against the disease. And then there’s the 4:28 Wall Sit Challenge.
The Wall Sit Challenge might be the perfect embodiment of Wilcox’s incredible strength. While she was at Mississippi State, she once held held a wall sit for 4 minutes and 28 seconds. With her back against the wall, her knees bent at 90 degrees, and her feet shoulder-width apart, she endured the exercise for nearly four and a half minutes. Some teammates tapped out, but Wilcox held strong. The wall sit also happened to take place on the same day that she received a round of chemotherapy.
Earlier this year, even as the coronavirus and quarantine rules raged on, social media began to fill up with videos and reports of other individuals completing the 4:28 Wall Sit Challenge. Wilcox’s former teammates took part in the endeavor; her coaches did, too. Players and coaches from around the country, representing nearly every state in the union and programs at every level of the game, completed the challenge to honor and remember Wilcox and her fight. Athletes from other sports took part in the movement, a tribute to a young woman who left a legacy so great that even people she’d never met felt like they knew her.
In the fall of 2018, Wilcox’s #8 jersey was retired by Mississippi State. She was the first female athlete to have her number retired, in any sport, within the Bulldogs’ athletic department. Her legacy lives on, both in Starkville, Mississippi and through the indelible mark that she made on the game of softball.
No one fights alone.