Softball has come a long way since it was voted off the Programme in 2005 – and sellout crowds and a carnival atmosphere at the Beijing Games last summer only skims the surface of the contribution the sport makes to the Olympic movement.
Softball is a predominantly female sport – at a time when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is keen to promote female sports – and it’s clean anti-doping record; inclusivity and accessibility make a compelling case to the IOC.
The ISF realised in 2005 that they could do more to contribute to the Olympic values and set about a phenomenal initiative, modernising their organisation and providing programmes and support for national softball federations across the planet.
I’ve always been aware of softball as a sport played to a highly-professional level by advertising and marketing friends and it’s true that it is easy to learn and cheap to play.
But the level of camaraderie the sport provokes; the popularity of the sport in the Middle East or other conservative areas where female team sports are otherwise not permitted; and the sport’s fundamental ability to change lives through its global community programmes make it a great choice for the IOC Executive Board when they meet in Berlin today.
Even yesterday when the ISF visited a Berlin softball league, we discovered that the game in Germany is played by people aged three to over 60 from all walks of life and from all over the world.
It has been a privilege for Calacus to be a part of such a tremendous campaign with a team who deserves success when the announcement is made for the right to participate in the Olympic Games in 2016.