As the softball world returns to “business as usual” today, representatives from various national federations are summarizing their activities surrounding yesterday’s having been World Softball Day.
June 13 coincides with the date (in 1991) when it was announced that (women’s) softball would be added to the programme of the Olympic Games, beginning with the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
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On April 25, 2017, International Softball Federation (ISF) President Don Porter declared that June 13, 2017 would be the first “World Softball Day,” in recognition of the sport’s historic date. After a successful worldwide celebration in its first year, and with the support expressed at the ISF Congress last October by the ISF/IOC Culture & Olympic Education Commission, the world governing body opted to continue the sport’s “holiday” this year.
Here is a snapshot of just a few of the World Softball Day 2017 celebrations the ISF has learned of already:
Botswana – with the 13th having fallen on a weekday, the Botswana Softball Association decided to hold on their celebration until this weekend so that more people would be able to be exposed to the sport. Their President, Marumo Morule, reports that they will be staging a “softball fun day on June 17th.”
China – an activity themed “I love softball, stride towards ’18 Olympics” took place at Beijing Muxiyuan Sports School on Sunday. Players on China’s women’s national team joined 300 softball enthusiasts and amateur players from 12 local colleges and senior high schools at the Sports School’s softball field for the celebration.
Colombia – opposite of Botswana, the Colombians decided to hold their celebration priorto World Softball Day. They did so in a big way, holding a (fast pitch) national championship – the first of its kind – from June 3-10 in Cartagena. A combined total of 20 men’s and women’s teams from various regions of the country participated, with Guajira winning the men’s competition and Bolivar coming out on top in women’s play. The tournament gained local media coverage, which was part of the call that the ISF put out for World Softball Day (for media to devote a portion of their sports coverage to softball). The organizers also highlighted World Softball Day in the program of the national championship and with p.a. announcements.
Greece – the Hellenic Amateur Softball Federation celebrated with the Grand Final of the 7th Greek Softball Women’s (fast pitch) Championship, between Marousi and Evriali, and the Small Final, between Spartakos and Serios. Marousi won 2-1 and Spartakos won 12-4.
Nicaragua – to fall almost at the midway point between World Softball Day and Olympic Day (June 23), the Nicaraguan Softball Federation is going to stage the XXVI Women’s National Championship on June 17, with ten teams from around the country participating, in the city of Rivas, which is 110 Km south from the Capital Managua.
Pakistan – the media were contacted there, being told that a seminar would be held in Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, and Terbela (Abbotabad), followed by a coaching clinic to introduce the game. To remember the day, the Pakistan Softball Federation also published a sticker bearing the slogan “Softball is my life.”
USA – in Oklahoma City, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) will host the 11-year old “Anyone Can Softball” organization, which provides opportunities for disabled children to play the sport. Teams will get a chance to bat and field as well as hear their (individual players’) names announced throughout the stadium and see them on the scoreboard. An end-of-year trophy presentation takes place at the ASA’s Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium from the Anyone Can Softball league that begins in late April and consists of approximately ten games in the season.
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The ISF is making plans to publish an article (with photos) from World Softball Day 2006 in the next issue of its official magazine (September-December).