Softball in the Olympics
Jennie Finch, who has undoubtedly changed the face of softball FOREVER (WE LOVE YOU JENNIE FINCH), is now hoping to use her prowess (and beauty and talent) to hopefully convince the International Olympic Committee to get softball back in the Olympics. The IOC, who has forever come across an elusive and quite snobby group (with a very difficult email address to find) is just days away from voting whether the combined baseball/softball card (Yes, they are a combined ticket) will be pushed through for the 2020 Olympics. Going up against sports such as wrestling and squash (no that is NOT just a vegetable) it seems like an easy win. But skeptics, and those close to the sport say it won’t be a cakewalk.
Most of us say why not? If you look at just how much power, influence and media power – and the consistent gains in these areas that softball is achieving in the last few years here in the states, it seems likes a no-brainer. Lets also mention the billions upon billions of dollars that are spent annually on softball (and baseball) equipment, the reality is that it would definitely be a money-maker and media favorite among fans nationwide. In fact, softball enthusiasts say it might even gain as much broadcast interest as women’s gymnastics.
Plus, this would be such a HUGE win for women’s athletics, on a global basis. The reality is that both baseball and softball are played in over 140 countries around the world – and it is certainly more entertaining than synchronized swimming, table tennis, and some of the other sports currently approved for the 2020 Olympic games.
The setbacks of course revolve around the fact that baseball and softball are TEAM sports, and require a large amount of athletes to participate. The IOC has set rules that govern the amount of the athletes that can stay in the Olympic village, and large rosters from likely dozens of countries account for a lot of people.
In an interview with USA Today, Jennie Finch said:
“The recent 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s historic and society-changing “I Have A Dream” speech is a timely reminder to all of us about the power of dreams – dreams of a personal nature as well as dreams of a better world. A world which, for me, would enable more women to participate in the greatest celebration of sport and humanity on our planet, the Olympic Games.
Like King’s dream, my dream is also shared by millions of people from all backgrounds and cultures, but it has not yet been fully realized.
This is a situation that can be corrected if the IOC votes to add softball and baseball to the 2020 Olympic Games. The IOC’s decision also could be historic and society changing.”
How far have we come as women, as parents to female athletes? The times are changing, and yet STILL it was not until 2012 that the Olympics had a female representative for every sport and from every participating country. The time has come for one of the most ancient and respected sporting venues in the entire world to recognize the strides that females have made athletically. And softball is the perfect sport with which to do it.
We, at Softball is For Girls, imagine seeing hundreds of female athletes dressed in sliders and cleats playing on a field of dreams and representing the dreams, hard work, passion and hearts of the millions of girls who play fast pitch softball! It gives them hope, and faith, and mentors, and goals, and reasons to keep playing. We believe that our daughters DESERVE that!
How committed is the IOC to women athletes? Will the voices of so many advocating the undeniable pull to put softball back in the Olympics be heard? Will 2020 – be our time to finally see the sport we love played on the big screen? Sunday, we will know for sure.