This article, I am going to literally step from outside the (batter's) box and talk about the future of our sport. With the recent vote to have softball in the Olympics not go our way, it was extremely devastating and the biggest heart break I have felt to date. Giving thought as to what should happen next seems impossible because it seems like a long shot for softball to ever be re-admitted. Which may be the case, but softball can still sustain survival as a relevant sport, but it will take a lot of work. Nationally, softball does have some good relevance, but definitely there is room for growth. Obviously, internationally is where we hurt the most and being considered a worldly sport is our main issue. With that said, we shouldn't stop on the home front, we should keep striving and doing our part, right here in THE US of A!
Support at the Grassroots
No matter what age or level you are in the softball community, you can always give back to the grassroots level. Whether you're a high school, collegiate, post collegiate athlete or even parent of a softballer, you can always give back. Giving back to a local league or even the league that you or your daughter grew up in, is a great option. Supporting local leagues in low-income communities by volunteering to coach a team. Always think about paying it forward to someone behind you, there is so much knowledge to be shared about our sport.
Support the College Level
Right now, collegiate softball, by far is our most successful and competitive level in the game. Of course, there is room for improvement. The reason why college level is so successful is because there is a great support from colleges to provide coaches and athletes with the necessary and beyond (i.e. equipment, facilities, etc). Support your local college softball program, go to a game and buy a ticket! When college softball is on, WATCH!! We have to keep those ratings up!
Back the Pro League!
Our Pro-league, National Professional Fastpitch (NPF), has the potential to be “the dream” for young girls, just like the MLB is the dream for most young boys. We have a long way to go until our pro-league is a household name, but our softball community should be pulling behind it so that it can become a success. It may seem that the pro-league is not competitive because there are few teams but that is so far from the truth. There is so much talent in the league that could be considered underground talent. If you're local or in the area, buy a ticket and support! The pro-league in my opinion is our last level to make our sport sustain and stay relevant! Support!!!
If we all do our part, there's no telling how far our sport will go in the years to come. It's been fun seeing the game grow just within the last 10 years. So it definitely makes me excited and hopeful on what we can do in the future!
Lets do this!
|Natasha Watley: has mastered softball on every level; from travel ball, all the way through her professional career by taking home a gold medal from the 2004 Olympics & a silver medal from 2008 Olympics. During the 2004 Olympics, Watley, assisted the US Softball Team on their third consecutive gold medal in Athens, by breaking the Olympic record for stolen bases. Also internationally, Watley is a two-time Pan American Gold Medalist three-time World Champion, and a four-time World Cup Champion. Visit Natasha's website at NatachaWatley.com|
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