Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of coaching in a game where our team, Impact Stewart, played against the German National team. That experience really reminded me of how much this game means to so many players! Seeing a team coming together to represent their country in the Olympics is a very powerful thing.
Sitting here, watching the World Cup of Softball on ESPN2 is another of those “ah ha” moments. Watching team USA and Japan play, reminds us all that the Olympic dream for softball is alive and well. Seeing these two world powers squaring off is just a preview of a lot of great international softball to come.
Those of us who have been around the game for a long time remember the amazing impact that Olympic softball has had on the growth of the game. In 1996 when the United States came through with a very exciting performance and Gold medal effort it seemed to throw gas on the fire that had been slowly burning.
Almost like a flash, the game grew in a geometric fashion. The numbers of players, travel ball teams, organizations and college programs all seemed to explode. Fastpitch has became a destination sport for millions of players. Knowing that the next generation of players can dream the Olympic dream means our sport is, once again, heading for big things!
Team USA has a very talented young team that will be a force to reckon with over the next couple years. Japan is always going to be a powerhouse with the national program they have developed. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!!
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