Today Is World Softball Day Written By Gary Leland
Let’s Celebrate World Softball Day!
The game of softball has won the hearts of many Americans as well as many people around the world. It is also for this very reason that the International Softball Federation (ISF) has announced June 13 as World Softball Day which has been celebrated annually by softball lovers and enthusiasts all around the world in their own ways.
The History of Softball
The game of softball was invented in 1887 by George Hancock. A reporter at that time for the Chicago Board of Trade, George attended a gathering among Harvard and Yale alumni at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago to hear the results of the annual Harvard-Yale football game. Seeing a man from Yale throwing a boxing glove which was then hit by a Harvard fan with a broom handle, George conceived the concept of this new game. He took the boxing glove and tied it up to form a large, soft, improvised ball. He also chalked a small diamond inside the boat club’s gymnasium floor and the game was carried out. That was the first ever softball game played with a final score of 41-40.
George Hancock later created a large, soft ball and a rubber-tipped bat. He then cooked up the rules and named the sport as indoor softball.
And the rest is history.
Softball at the Olympics
In 1996, softball was introduced as an Olympic medal event at the Summer Olympics. Delegates who competed in the event came from countries including Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, and the USA.
Softball was included in the Olympics until 2008 but it was taken out of the program for 2012 and 2016.
Presently, efforts are on the move in the hope to bring the game back to the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The First World Softball Day
June 13, 2005 marked the first World Softball Day as announced by ISF President Don Porter.
There was even more reason to celebrate as it was on the same day back in 1991 when it was announced that women’s fastpitch softball has been added to the Olympic Games program which debuted in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
2005 also marked the 40th anniversary of the first-ever world softball championship.
World Softball Day Celebrations around the Globe
Every year, ISF encourages its members as well as all softball players, fans, and enthusiasts around the world to celebrate softball and promote the sport.
Different countries have celebrated the World Softball Day in various ways throughout the years.
In Moscow, a sports event called “little Spartakiad” was held for 6-7 year-old kid with the aim to help get kids familiarized with the game of softball.
In Zimbabwe, a softball coaching program was held at one teachers training college in the hope that the sport could be introduced to different schools throughout the country.
In Pakistan, the softball federation decided to make it more fun by holding games, coaching clinics, and seminars among schools.
In the Republic of Georgia, a new softball field and a new softball school have been launched aside from other games and club team tournaments which they have planned out for that day.
Other countries that celebrated the first World Softball Day were China, Great Britain, the Dominican Republic, Iran, and South Africa.
2009 – Back Softball Day
In 2009, the World Softball Day has instead been themed as a Back Softball Day in an effort to strengthen ISF’s campaign to get the sport back into the 2016 Olympics. Unfortunately though, softball still didn’t make it to the program.
In Europe, the Dutch national softball team held a softball youth clinic where they played against foreign players from the Dutch leagues.
In Botswana, a national youth development program was launched along with a Back Softball dinner held which was attended by former softball players as well as officials from the National Olympic Committee.
Other countries that held events to support the tie-in between the World Softball Day and the Back Softball Day included Switzerland, Pakistan, and the Dominican Republic.
To help celebrate I created a World Softball Day event page on Facebook at WorldSoftballDay.com
How Would You Celebrate World Softball Day This Year?
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