“PLAY BALL!!” This is a saying that has been used for many years in softball as well as in baseball. Now, those two words will not be heard in the Olympics for at least half a decade. Softball is a big part in the lives of many women and taking it out of the 2012 Olympics is crushing their dreams. The sport should be reinstated in the 2016 Olympics because the sport will die if it is not, it gives young girls a dream, and it will greatly decrease the amount of women participating in the Olympic Games.
Softball has been in the Olympics since 1996 and now the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to take it out. Taking softball out of the Olympics cut the amount of funding to the USA team which means that they are not able to tour as long or play as many games. An online article titled “USA softball Faces Precarious Future without Olympics” proves this by stating the following; “losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in support from the U.S. Olympic Committee means a limited travel schedule, less time to practice and no stipends that would allow players to give up every day jobs” (Associated press 1). If players cannot give up their every day jobs, then they will get too caught up with them and end up giving up the sport permanently. Jay Miller, U.S. head coach, says that “[i]n the past, out Olympic years especially, kids could make a pretty good living playing for the national team, where now they cannot” (Associated Press 1). With softball not being an Olympic sport it will not be easy to stick around just because you have a deep love for it. Ron Radigonda, the executive director of the Amateur Softball Association that runs USA softball, says that having “that Olympic program just [brings it] to the next level” (Associated Press 1). Cooke states that “[t]aking softball out of the Olympics really hurt the sport. There are a ton of talented girls with no place to go. College softball truly is the last real stop for these girls” (Cooke 1). Without being an Olympic sport then the sport as we know it now will become dead. When the IOC took softball out of the Olympics they never took all of this into consideration.
Even without the Olympics, the U.S. softball team still has the world cup, the Canada Cup, and two months of tour dates. There are a few professional teams including the four-team National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) and the touring Pro Fastpitch X-treme (PFX), and in Japan. In an interview with Meagan Denny, a former Texas Longhorn Pitcher and an active member of the PFX tour team, she stated “I definitely think softball will survive. I actually think it has gotten more popular since professional softball has taken off. Olympic players are actually quitting the USA team to play pro ball” (Denny). People, like Meagan Denny, who dedicate their lives to softball, can probably live the life on the low income that is made from the pro teams. Denny sates that “[as a pro softball player] we cannot make a living off of playing. The PFX gets paid per tour stop; the NPF gets paid a salary for the summer… I get paid just a little more on the tour than I would in the NPF. I also get to live where I want and travel to our destination on the tour. If I were in the NPF I would have to quit my job for the summer to live where ever my team is” (Denny). Meagan gets to play pro softball for the PFX tour team and still have a career at the same time. True softball fans will still follow these teams no matter the time of day of the events. Every little girl that picks up a softball wants to be known as something great. Since softball does not have a professional league like baseball, the Olympics are all we as softball players have. The way softball can survive without being an Olympic sport is if people with huge hearts for the game never die out.
Now that the Olympics have taken out softball, the girl who picks up her bat, helmet, glove and softball...
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