Friday, July 31, 2009

Let them play

Baseball is baseball, and anyone playing it is always a good thing. And as the games grows in stature around the world, it's important that players in different countries get the opportunity to play. South Africa has been playing baseball for a few years now, competing in the first two World Baseball Classics, and having had several prospects sign with minor league teams in the states. It's an emerging program, and the sport is becoming more popular all the time in the country.

But it's being done a little differently in South Africa right now, as they are developing a girls game:
There has been Girls Baseball in South Africa for the last six years. This is done primarily at school level and Youth Divisions.

For the school competitions we have 9 States/Provinces who send 14 participants in each of the Under-13;Under-15; and Under-17 . Giving us a total of 378 girls who represent their state/province.
I'm all for anyone playing baseball who wants to play baseball, and this is a good thing. I've said many times before that it's been proven that kids (from whatever country) who participate in after school sports/programs tend to have better grades and fewer discipline problems. So getting these girls involved is a great idea.

I have to wonder why baseball, however. I'm not knocking it, by any means. They do play softball in South Africa. I'm not going to be so sexist as to assume women should only play softball, and not baseball. But reality is what it is, and at the professional/older levels, men play baseball and women play softball. If the girls want to play baseball, that's great. But I would think eventually they will end up switching to softball at a later date, unless there are plans for a woman's baseball league.

There are some inherent problems, as there always are in poorer countries:
Fewer girls participate in the Youth Divisions because of the cost of travel and accommodations. The reason for this is the closeness of the two championships to each other and the majority of our girls coming from disadvantaged communities.
A donation of equipment by some organization in the states that plays a similar sport and has a few million spare dollars sitting in the bank would be an ideal way to promote the game on an international level.

But when the boss of that organization is a used car salesman, you learn quickly that there are no guarantees.

Thanks to the IBAF for the link.

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