The West Pines Diamond Dusters: Parents

I used to have a regular life. (Actually, many of my friends say that sentence should say, "I used to have a life".) It doesn't really seem that long ago. Then I became a Travel ball parent.

I used to think anything over $40 was an exorbitant price for a softball bat. Now the contents of my daughters equipment bag are worth more than everything else in the house -- including clothes, jewelry, watches, and my laptop computer.

I used to be one of the leaders in my field of work. I still am. (You have to keep a good paycheck coming in if you want to support a travel ball habit!)

I used to think a double-header was a long day at the ball field. Now after two games we're just getting warmed up.

I used to look for little restaurants that served seafood fresh off the boat. Now I'm a connoisseur of nachos and hot dogs and my kids rate a city by the quality of a tournaments snack bar!

Sunflower seeds used to be something I would see at a store and wonder who would eat those things? Now I don't feel comfortable leaving the house with out a bag in my pocket.

My lawn used to be like a carpet. It was green, mowed, trimmed, fertilized, and watered. Now I have two big bare spots forty feet apart and dents in my garage door from fastballs that got away!

My car used to draw admiring looks and comments. It was clean and waxed and shined and Armor-All'd. Now it only draws attention when it wins the "dirtiest car in the parking lot" prize.

I used to have a garage, now I have an indoor batting area.

My friends and I used to spend Monday mornings talking about a round of golf or movie we had just seen. Now I bore them to death with detailed play-by-play descriptions of five or six low-scoring ball games.

We used to sit and talk for hours. We still do-- however, now it's to keep the driver awake when we're headed home late Sunday evening after a tournament.

My summer casual wardrobe used to be made up of color-coordinated polo shirts, cool cottons in bright colors, and the occasional "aloha" shirt. Now I have a closet full of T-shirts that have Tournament Names on the front and competing teams on the back.

We used to spend our summer vacation relaxing on the beach or visiting family. Now we hit the road with 20 of our closest friends in a caravan that could rival some small town parades.

I used to be concerned that I would fall into the trap of living my life through my kid. Now I know that I'm privileged to live my life WITH my kid!!!

Yes, I'm a Travel Ball Parent, what could be better!

The Entertainer

I believe in Fastpitch Softball
This article was taken from Fastpitch Delivery
The Newspaper of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association
Rewritten by Bill Lammel to fit fastpitch softball
Diamond in the Rough Fastpitch Academy
Chicago Ridge, IL

I Believe in Fastpitch Softball

I believe in competition, and camaraderie.
I believe in brackets, bubble gum, and ponytails.
I believe that attendance and preparation wins games.

I believe there is more to being a good batter than being a good hitter.
I believe in being relaxed on defense until the batter moves her hands.
I believe it is okay to use defensive shifts, to play the odds and head games.

I believe if the batter crowds the plate, it is MY JOB to move her off.
I believe in checking in on the condition of injured opponents.
I believe players should applaud opponents after they make great defensive plays.

I believe cheering is good as long as I keep my head in the game and don't degrade opponents.
I believe that dumbbell curls are more important than hair that curls.
I believe that taking winter BP with a cheap bat helps to hit summer HOMERS with an expensive one.

I believe in running out all grounders, pop-ups, and lazy fly balls, no matter how frustrated I am.
I believe it is better to be a smart base runner, than a fast one.
I believe in scoring from 3rd on a double-play, and from second on a deep fly ball.

I believe in the nervous anticipation of a play at the plate.
I believe in the corners all the way up when she shows a bunt.
I believe in cat-like reflexes when she was faking bunt, and screams a liner.

I believe in catchers who talk junk and pitchers who throw it.
I believe in infielders who think getting dirty is part of the job description.
I believe in outfielders who hug the lines, and play shallow daring you to hit it over their head.

I believe rattling bats can wake them up, and uncrossing them can avoid bad luck.
I believe in wiping the morning dew off a ball, and squinting into the sunset.

I believe in saving an equipment catalog until the next issue replaces it.
I believe I need a T-shirt from every tournament and camp I go to, to complete my wardrobe!
I believe there is no off-season, just a longer wait until my next game.

I believe in butterflies of opening day and the long drive home after the final game.
I believe weekends in the summer should be filled with tournament games, especially Sundays.
I believe in showing appreciation for friends and family who came to watch you play.

I believe in thanking umpires when the game is over, no matter what the score.
I believe the final score is part of the overall experience.
I believe that if your boyfriend can't handle that you're an athlete, you'll miss him!


History Of Softball
History Of Softball
    Softball was invented inside the Farragut Boat Club on a blustery, winter day in November, 1887, in Chicago, IL. A bunch of Yale and Harvard alumni anxiously awaited the results of the Harvard-Yale football game, and when the news came that Yale had defeated Harvard, 17-8, one Yale supporter, overcome with enthusiasm, picked up an old boxing glove and threw it at a nearby Harvard alumni, who promptly tried to hit it back with a stick. This gave George Hancock, a reporter for the Chicago Board of Trade, an idea. He suggested a game of indoor baseball. Naturally, Hancock's friends thought he was talking about playing a game outdoors, not indoors.

Hancock wasn't kidding, however. Using what was available, he tied together the laces of the boxing glove for a ball. Using a piece of chalk, Hancock marked off a home plate, bases and a pitcher's box inside the Farragut Boat Club gym, with the two groups divided into teams. The final score of the game was 41-40, but what was significant was that Hancock and his friends had invented a sport that would continue to grow in popularity to where today more than 40 million people enjoy playing it each summer, making softball the No. 1 team participant sport in the United States. Hancock's invention eventually caught on in Chicago with the Farragut team challenging other gyms to games. In the spring, Hancock took his game outdoors and played it on fields not large enough for baseball. It was called indoor-outdoor and Hancock emerged as the recognized authority in the 19th century.

Hancock appended 19 special rules to adapt the outdoor game to the indoor game, and the rules were officially adopted by the Mid Winter Indoor Baseball League of Chicago in 1889. Hancock's game gradually spread throughout the country and ultimately flourished in Minneapolis, thanks to the efforts and ingenuity of Lewis Rober, a Minneapolis Fire Department lieutenant, who wanted a game to keep his firemen fit during their idle time. Using a vacant lot adjacent to the firehouse, Rober laid out bases with a pitching distance of 35 feet. His ball was a small sized medicine ball with the bat two inches in diameter. The game became popular overnight and other fire companies began to play. In 1895, Rober transferred to another fire company and organized a team he called the Kittens. George Kehoe, captain of Truck Company No. 1, named Rober's version of softball "Kitten League Ball" in the summer of 1900. It was later shortened to "Kitten Ball."

Rober's game was known as Kitten Ball until 1925, when the Minneapolis Park Board changed it to Diamond Ball, one of a half dozen names used during this time for softball. The name softball didn't come about until 1926 when Walter Hakanson, a Denver YMCA official suggested it to the International Joint Rules Committee. Hakanson had come up with the name in 1926. Efforts to organize softball on a national basis didn't materialize until 1933, when Leo Fischer and Michael J. Pauley, a Chicago Sporting goods salesman, conceived the idea of organizing thousands of local softball teams in America into cohesive state organizations, and state organizations into a national organization.

To bring the teams together, Fischer and Pauley invited them to participate in a tournament in conjunction with the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. With the backing of the Chicago American newspaper, Pauley and Fischer invited 55 teams to participate in the tournament. Teams were divided into three classes - fastballers, slow pitch and women. A 14-inch ball was used during the single-elimination event.

During the 1934 National Recreation Congress, membership on the Joint Rules Committee was expanded to add the Amateur Softball Association (ASA). Until the formation of the ASA, softball was in a state of confusion, especially in the rules area where the length of the bases and pitcher's box were constantly being changed.

The formation of the ASA gave softball the solidarity and foundation it needed to grow and develop throughout the U.S. under the network of associations proposed by Fischer and Pauley. Pauley and Fischer visited many of the states, inviting teams to participate in the tournament. Fischer and his sports promotion director, Harry Wilson, sold the Century of Progress Exposition on the idea of sponsoring the tournament and providing a field inside the Fair Grounds. The American's sports pages promoted the tournament daily and Chicago businessmen raised $500 to finance the event.

On the opening day of the 1933 tournament, the Chicago American said, "it is the largest and most comprehensive tournament ever held in the sport which has swept the country like wildfire." With admission free, 70,000 people saw the first round of play. Chicago teams won the three divisions of play with Softball Hall of Famer Harry (Coon) Rosen leading the J.L. Friedman Boosters to the men's title, one-hitting Briggs Beautyware of Detroit, MI, in the finals. It was the first loss of the season for Briggs after 41 consecutive wins.

It was evident that softball finally had a foundation from which to grow, and, in 1935, the Playground Association Softball Guide, wrote: "the years of persistent effort, constant promotion and unchanging faith of believers in softball proved to have not been in vain, for in 1934 softball came into its own.

The International Softball World Championships in 1965 developed women's softball by making it an international game, a step towards the Pan-American Games and the Olympics. Eleven years later, women softball players were given the closest equivalent to Major League Baseball with the 1976 formation of the International Women's Professional Softball League. Player contracts ranged from $1,000 to $3,000 per year, but the league disbanded in 1980 because of financial ruin.

The popularity of women's fastpitch softball has grown steadily since the professional league's end in 1980. In fact, once again, there is another professional fastpitch league called the NPF (National Pro Fastpitch League). The Amateur Softball Association reports that it "annually registers over 260,000 teams combining to form a membership of more than 4.5 million" (About the ASA). These numbers do not all apply to fastpitch, yet it is consistently growing along with slowpitch. All over America hundreds of leagues and thousands of players enthusiastically accepted this major team game and Softball became one of America's favorite sports