Monday, July 18, 2005

Softball reacts

It has been interesting to watch the coverage of the women's inaugural World Cup of Softball taking place in Oklahoma City right now. Or rather, it has been interesting to hear how people are reacting to the news the softball is out of 2012 London Summer Olympics. Some of the commentators agreed with me that there was some political wranglings behind the IOC's doors that lead to scrapping softball, but no one seems to have any good answers. The commentators actually thought there was a possibility to bring the sport back in 2012 rather than campaigning for reinstatement in 2016. This seems unlikely to me but I suppose they need to keep hope alive.
But the rallyers are not doing a good job of convincing the IOC to keep it based on the commentary during games. The camera pans to a group of young girls in the stands wearing their uniforms and cheering and holding signs and commentator/player Michelle Smith says "This is why we need to keep softball in the Olympics. We need to keep these girls' dreams alive." I don't think this is going to pull at the heartstrings of the IOC.
What could be more convincing is the fact that 1) there is a world cup of softball now in place. That means more opportunities for countries to play internationally and gain experience. And 2) that the US squad is not displaying its usual dominance. They lost their first game to Canada and had a close game with little offensive power with Australia. This chink in the armor seems more likely to show the IOC that other countries are working hard to catch up with the US program and could pose significant threats in the future. The somewhat ethnocentric US commentators though failed to acknowledge that an end to the US dynasty might be a good thing for softball on an international level and might actually help the dreams of little girls everywhere and not just American girls.