San Jose Women's Softball League: FAQs

Thanks for your interest in the nonprofit, player-run San Jose Women’s Softball League (SJWSL) which is also known as the Savoy Women’s Softball League (SWSL) and may be referred to as simply the “League.”

The all-volunteer Board of this League strives to make its participants’ experience as positive and as easy as possible. We charge only about 3% above what the City of San Jose charges us per-team/per-game and our per-team insurance. We're not in this for money. We're in this for the “social welfare of the League’s participants” which adds up to FUN!

You’ll find this League unique in that the players have more say in the League’s rules and policies than they do in almost any other League. This League is run by its participants, not by a governmental or a for-profit organization. This is YOUR League! YOU make it happen and we encourage you to get involved as a Board member or simply by volunteering to help with the many tasks associated with running this League.

Included on this page you’ll find key information, condensed from the League’s Issues of Governance (“Code” and “Bylaws”), that applies directly to individual participants. The Code and Bylaws are available as downloads under the Documents & Forms page of this website.

Q. IS THIS A "GAY ONLY" LEAGUE?
A. Absolutely not! We WARMLY WELCOME ALL WOMEN as we wish to foster good will and understanding between the straight and LGBT communities. We are happy to have many straight players on our diamonds. The main purpose of this League is to provide an organized, slowpitch softball league where ANY woman can participate in the sport in a safe, healthy, positive atmosphere that is free of the negative attitudes based on differences in sexual orientation that are often faced by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) communities. We are not an exclusive organization.

Q. WHEN DOES THE NEXT LEAGUE SESSION START?
A. Spring session games usually start in late March/early April, and end in mid June. Summer league session games usually start in late June/early July. A short Fall league session, if one is held, will start in mid October and end in November. For specific start and end dates, see the Calendar page of this website.

Q. HOW CAN I GET ON A TEAM?
A. We place individual players on teams and have also formed teams from groups of individuals who signed up. You must participate in a Give Softball a Try Day (see calendar and "New to SJWSL? Join a Team Here") and give us a deposit in order to be considered.

Q. I MISSED THE GIVE SOFTBALL A TRY DAYS BUT REALLY WANT TO PLAY NOW! WHAT CAN I DO?
A. Email us at info@sjwsoftball.org. You may be able to get on a team.

Q. WHEN IS THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP FOR THE NEXT LEAGUE SESSION?
A. Please see the Calendar for deadlines.

Q. I'VE NEVER PLAYED SOFTBALL BUT THIS SOUNDS FUN. IS THERE A PLACE FOR ME ON THIS LEAGUE?
A. We welcome players of ALL skill levels. Give Softball a Try Days (GSATDs) are NOT “tryouts” and we are not “filtering anyone out,” so relax! Our objective at GSATDs is to evaluate you so that we can better match you with an appropriate team. However, we cannot guarantee that there will be a spot for every player. Sometimes this is contingent on having enough volunteer managers and/or coaches to take care of our League-formed pick-up team(s). Want to help guarantee yourself a spot on a team? Volunteer! (Yes, you can play AND manage/coach.)

Q. WHAT DOES THIS DEPOSIT COVER?
A. It will roughly cover your share of your team’s Team League Participation Fee IF your team has 12 paying players. The exact per-player cost depends on how many players on a team and what that team decides to purchase (uniforms, practice equipment, mascot costumes, etc.).

Q. IS MY DEPOSIT REFUNDABLE?
A. The League will refund your deposit only if we are unable to place you on a team. Your team manager may refund all or part of your deposit in other circumstances on a case-by-case basis but has no obligation to do so.

Q. WHEN WILL I KNOW WHAT TEAM, IF ANY, I AM PLACED WITH?
A. We endeavor to get this information to you within 2 days of the last Give Softball a Try Day via email. You’ll be phoned only if you have no email.

Q. WHAT IF I DO NOT LIKE THE TEAM WITH WHOM I WAS PLACED? CAN I BE SWITCHED? CAN I GET MY MONEY BACK?
A. If you are placed with a team and change your mind about participating, you have up to 10 days before the first game of the upcoming league session games to “back out” and request a refund or a team-switch. To do this, you must notify the SJWSL Executive Committee and your team manager via email and/or phone by the deadline. We do not encourage team-switching during a league session and such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis by a special committee and by the affected team managers as outlined in the Code. Most team-switch requests, if any, will probably be denied.

Team-switches after or between league playing sessions are not governed or monitored by the League's Board or policies. That is at the discretion of each player and manager. We hope that players and managers will give each other ample notice and all due courtesy in the event of any player or team changes.   

Q. ARE FEES, PURCHASES OR DONATIONS TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
A. No. We are a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, social welfare organization. We are not a charity. However, businesses may write off their contributions as an advertising business expense.

Q. ARE UNIFORMS REQUIRED?
A. No. We encourage but do not require uniforms with numbers. Most teams so far have opted for uniforms.

Q. WHAT OTHER COSTS ARE THERE?
A. Non-resident fees in the amount of $10 per non-resident player with a $60 per-team maximum that will be payable by each team directly to the City of San Jose within one week after the halfway point in each League session’s play. It’s up to each team’s manager to decide how to handle this.

Q. WHY ARE THE SJWSL LEAGUE FEES HIGHER THAN SOME CITIES' LEAGUE FEES?
A. Because this League is a self-run, nonprofit, it has expenses that far exceed what we charge for Team League Participation Fees. In order for this League to exist, EVERY TEAM AND ITS PARTICIPANTS must do their share to keep it funded. The Board is a small group of volunteers (each team is entitled to one Board Rep) who work very hard so that the majority of the League’s participants can pretty much “just show up and play.” But the Board can’t do it all on their own.

The League’s expenses include but are not limited to: field rental for Play Days, Give Softball a Try Days, and scrimmages, awards, prizes, insurance, voice mail, PO box, website, promotion/marketing, copies, admin, Pride Booth rental, NAGAAA fees and NAGAAA Rep travel (to/from biannual meetings).

Q. HOW DOES ONE BECOME A BOARD MEMBER OR OFFICER?
A. The details are outlined in our BYLAWS which you can download from the "Documents and Forms" link on this website. In short: Every team is entitled to have one Team Rep serving on the board. Any league participant may choose to run for an Officer position or be a Team Rep. One need not be a player to qualify. The board welcomes your interest and participation.

Q. CAN ANYONE ATTEND BOARD MEETINGS?
A. Yes. See the "Calendar" link on this website for dates, times and locations. Non-board members are welcome to come and participate in discussions but are not entitled to a vote.

Q. WHAT IS ASANA?
A. ASANA is the acronym for the Amateur Sports Association of North America, which was formerly known (2007 and previous) as the Women’s Division of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA).

Q. HOW DID OUR LEAGUE BECOME INVOLVED WITH ASANA?
A. Our League became an alliance member of the Women’s Division of the NAGAAA in February 2005. The "open" (mostly male) division of NAGAAA and the Women’s Division of NAGAAA dissolved their joint operating agreement in 2007. So in essence, we are a member of the same organization as we were before. The organization has reorganized and changed its name because it will no longer work in conjunction with the open division of NAGAAA.

Q. HOW “BIG” IS ASANA?
As of 2008, ASANA has 26 women’s leagues like ours, throughout the USA and Canada.

Q. WHAT DOES ASANA DO?
A. Copied directly from ASANA’s website (www.asanasoftball.org): "Created in 2007, the Amateur Sports Alliance of North America (ASANA) is a new non-profit sports association dedicated to promoting amateur athletics for the gay and lesbian community. ASANA's current focus is on the development and support of women's softball with 26 member cities and as host to the Softball World Series. Before emerging as our own organization, the women's division was a part of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) with our first women's division competition played in Milwaukee, WI in 1985. Moving forward, ASANA will continue to grow and support gay and lesbian athletics for all."

Q. WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE "GAY WORLD SERIES" SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT?
A. 2007 marks the last year, due to previous arrangements, that ASANA and NAGAAA will hold their world series tournaments in conjunction. This year’s world series tournament games will be held in Seattle from August 25th through 30th. (The women’s games may start later than 8/25, that’s yet to be determined.)

Q. SO WHAT IS THE "ASANA SOFTBALL WORLD SERIES?"
A. It's an annual women's softball tournament for lesbians and their friends, that is held in a different host city each year. Under NAGAAA, it lasted six days, which was too long for many women (one of the reasons ASANA split from NAGAAA). It's usually held in mid August. If the past WS tourneys held in conjunction with NAGAAA are any indication, then it's an incredible, worthy experience you'll never forget. Sure, it's mostly about softball, but there are many other fun, social events planned on as well. Great way to meet women from all over the USA and Canada!

Please talk to your team manager and teammates about the possibility of representing our league at the ASANA SWS. If the team on which you are placed is not interested in this opportunity, but you are, then please contact your division’s Vice Commissioner and let them know that you would like get picked up with such a team just for the tournament. "Picking up" with another team is a great way to make new friends in this league, and to make friends all over the country once you're at the tournament!

Q. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN ASANA MEMBER?
A. The benefits to our league, by being a member of ASANA, include:
1. Recognition in the international athletic community, lending prestige to our league.
2. A link to our league's website on ASANA's website.
3. Our teams are eligible to earn berths to the WOMEN’s Softball World Series tournament. Only ASANA member league teams may participate in this tourney. The NAGAAA Gay World Series no longer offers a women’s division.
4. Players from other ASANA leagues who move to our area will be eager to join our league.
5. Our league's officers that attend ASANA meetings get the opportunity to get ideas and learn from other leagues like ours.
6. The ability to contact other ASANA leagues' officers and team managers for advice on various issues.
7. The possibility of getting the benefits of sponsorship from national organizations that support ASANA.
8. The GWS gives all tournament participants the opportunity to network with, play against, and socialize with players from all over the USA and Canada.