One of the complaints I always hear about school ball is the great difference in skill level of players. Whether it’s within a team where you might have a great player on the same field with a total beginner or in the games where one very strong team will be playing against a very weak team. Both of these circumstances lead us to the next topic which is:
Part 5: Competition
Now, before we get too far down the rose colored glasses path, I understand that there is a huge variance across the levels of travel ball. too. The idea of classifying travel teams as A/B/C is supposed to help solve the problem of really good teams beating up on less talented opponents, but we know that the system is far from perfect. For our purposes today, we are going to really look at the higher level travel teams that are trying to challenge themselves by playing against the other best teams. Now, whether that means the best teams in your area or the best teams in the country, the proposition is the same.
When you look at the very best travel teams, you often see a collection of the very best players around. For some teams that means the best players in your community, and for others, it means the best players in the country, no matter how far away they might live. Either way, we are talking about the best of the best joining together to create as powerful a team as we possibly can. And when you create a powerful team, you have one very daunting task ahead of you. How do you challenge such a talented group of players?
We all know winning is fun! But winning against teams that are clearly less talented than you loses its luster pretty quickly. Run ruling a team or getting run ruled can happen to anyone but when the majority of your games are big wins without much drama, it gets really old very fast! To avoid the imbalance of power, the travel world has to count on the integrity of the teams involved and hope they will do whatever they need to do to be sure they are playing a legitimate schedule for the type of team they have.
For many teams, it means a great deal of travel and time on the road because the best way for them to find the teams that can compete with them is by traveling to the right tournaments. This is where they have the chance to square off on the field and prove who is the best. When this happens in Colorado or the Alliance or PGF or whatever, this big event draws the big guns. You are going to get to see some very exciting softball with a high stakes environment. Now, of course, there are still going to be plenty of arguments about which team is the best because none of the events ever manage to get all the best teams in one place, but the argument is, ultimately, part of the fun.
Travel ball offers the best opportunity for the great players to play against each other. It probably isn’t really all that important to know who the best team is, but it is important for these great players to have the opportunity to play against each other. What is one of the greatest strengths of travel ball? Competition!!
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?