A few weeks ago, we came across a parent rant about how so many ‘kids’ are playing what the ranter referred to as silly softball. It sounded like a fun thing to play, so we read more, wondering if my daughter plays silly softball too….
Turns out that ‘silly softball’ was a term dubbed about all the thousands of kids who are watering down the fastpitch travel ball market. And it came with a few pangs of what was supposed to be SHAME (the horror) that so many girls would choose silly softball, over something else. The author even went on to say that silly softball was what was wrong with this game, and that he was tired of encountering silly softball teams in the travel ball circuit and we will quote “these parents need to find their kids something else to do….”
So yeah. There’s that. And the truth is that our very own youngest daughter plays the ‘dreaded’ silly softball that this author spoke about. Her dad coaches. The kids on her teams are young, and want to play softball and truly love the game as much as any other kid, but their talent is still being developed, and the local recreation leagues don’t offer any options to play, so in order to keep these kids growing softball wise – they play in local one day tournaments of ‘silly softball.’
And THEY LOVE IT!
The parents realize exactly where these kids are athletically and have chosen (yes chosen) to have their kid play on a team where they will not only learn the game and HAVE FUN (GASP) but be able to grow as HUMANS and players. Some weekends we get our silly ball asses handed to us on a stick when non silly ball teams sign up for tournaments that are far below their competitive level (AKA trophy hunters) and other weekends, it just a bunch of silly ball teams like us, with teams of girls and parents and pop up tents and chairs cheering on our children while they play a game they love.
Luckily, where we live tournaments are scaled to playing level, so there is no need to be worried about the silly ball players watering down the playing field. In fact, we tend to think that if you are constantly finding teams far beneath your level, then YOUR TEAM may need to venture out and find higher level ASA, PGF tournaments in your area. At the very least, that would give YOUR non Silly Ball team an opportunity to grow…and you wouldn’t have to sit in shock and horror when the silly ball players miss a ball, or strike out, or make a string of errors that make them rival the Bad News Bears.
Hopefully, you (the reader) picked up on the sarcasm above.
Because the TRUTH is that if you are a true fan of any sport, you welcome as many people playing it as possible, and you realize that the growth of said sport, (even with silly ball players) helps all of us in the long run.
And even more truth is that no one, and we mean NO ONE gets to decide who is ‘worthy’ or ‘talented’ enough to adorn a softball uniform and play softball. The snobbery of this sport has become so much to deal with in recent years, and you would almost think that the worth of a parent and player comes down to the name on the front of the jersey.
I mean, what’s up with so many parents hating on little kids because they don’t play softball as well as their daughter does? Isn’t childhood about learning and trying new things to find our niche?
And what if a young girl really likes to play softball, really likes to spend time with her team, but isn’t super good. If we were talking about math, would you advise her to quit math class at school? Of course not. You would remind her that if she works hard enough, she can do anything….You would encourage her to improve, you would give her tips and tricks to help her do better at math. You wouldn’t make fun of her….So why is softball different, especially if her heart is in it?
Now we get that not every player is cut out for a ‘silly ball’ team. We also get that some silly ball players aren’t quite ready for the organizational ball. teams But can we at the very least agree, that THANK GOODNESS, HALLELUJAH, there is a suitable level and team for every girl who wants to play, and that THAT is a wonderful thing?
(Plus, I have a feeling that some of these silly ball players, may be the only ones left playing when the High School age groups roll around, because they understand that softball is a game, and games are supposed to be fun, and they won’t get burned out quite as quick. And yes…this fact, is from experience.) Just saying… you might actually need those ‘silly ball’ players in the years to come to field a team….