SportsEvents Magazine

OCT 2018

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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2019 Baseball/Softball Sourcebook 12 www.sportseventsmagazine.com countries and about 52 teams. The com- mission has built on those types of events and this year worked with the International Senior Softball Association (ISSA) to host its first-time event, the Border Battle in August. ISSA handpicked some U.S. teams and invited a slow-pitch organization in Canada to bring teams, and the result was an all-new event. Sixteen registered teams competed for the Border Battle title. "It was a great event and we are looking forward to hosting it again, working with the ISSA and perhaps have a qualifier for teams," said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission. "We're excited about building on what we've done thus far at the complex." Back in Florida, the Coastal Florida Sports Park bills itself as a premier place to play. Previously the Cocoa Expo Sports Center, the complex underwent a $40 mil- lion renovation and expansion to create a place where athletes can practice, play, and even stay and eat on site. The park is now an all-inclusive facility where teams can stay on site with enough room to accommodate approximately 40 to 50 teams at one time. The complex also offers entertainment and training options for teams, including entertainment lounges, weight rooms and training center, all in a destination that's known for warm weather year-round and is just 30 minutes east of Orlando. "We're dedicated to making softball a major sport here and encourage teams to come down and participate in events, especially our spring training options," said Manny Plasencia, tournament director at the park. "We want to make this a softball destination." USA Softball isn't building new facilities but it is renovating the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City, Okla. Renovations, which began in July, will modernize the venue while also increasing the seating capacity by 4,000 seats. The organization is also working to create new events. At the grassroots level, the organization recently concluded its second All-American Games, which brought together the top 12-Under athletes across the U.S. for a three-day tournament at its facility. At the international level, USA Softball is also in its second year of the Women's Slow Pitch National Team and the orga- nization just announced the creation of a Women's Futures Slow Pitch National Team to provide an additional opportunity for this elite division of play to represent USA Softball. "USA Softball is always looking for new and valuable ways to provide resources to our members," said Codi Warren, managing director of communications for USA Softball. "Whether it's through our education programs, scholarship opportunities or our involvement with the Major League Baseball Play Ball initiative, we will continue to provide opportunities for anyone to get involved in our great game." To promote a positive youth sport experience, USA Softball recently partnered with TrueSport, a program within the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). TrueSport's educational materials focus on three major cornerstones of youth sports: sportsmanship, character building and healthy performance. "These tools – whether in the form of articles, handouts or videos – are not only beneficial for athletes but also coaches and parents to promote a positive youth sport experi- ence for all," Warren said. "We are always looking at ways we can bring valuable educational tools to our members and this partnership directly relates to part of USA Softball's mission to provide the best possible experience for all those involved." Even with new events, and new and renovated venues popping up all over the country, softball's inclusion in the Olympic Games may well be what will help increase interest in the sport the most. While absent from the last two Summer Games, USA Softball became the first U.S. team to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. On the international stage, the sport will further show young athletes what those at USA Softball and others involved in the sport already know: it's a true team sport that's about much more than winning and losing. " There are so many life lessons that athletes can gain by participating in our sport, both on and off the field," Warren said. "Whether it's overcoming a tough loss, time management or how to work as a team, athletes are not only benefitting physically from participating in softball but it also prepares them for their post-sport life." n Softball Spotlight: USA Softball USA Softball USA Softball was the first team to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Athletes will compete at the elite level in Tokyo.

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