Jump to content

Welcome to Fastpitch Forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. This message will be removed once you have signed in.
Login to Account Create an Account
Photo

Saving Olympic Softball


  • Please log in to reply
42 replies to this topic

#1
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
Posted Image

Jamie Gray, creator of the SaveSoftball.com petition drive to reinstate softball into the 2016 Olympics and star of the "Saving Softball" documentary produced by The Softball Channel, is the subject of an article in today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

An Olympian Effort
14-year-old fights to get softball reinstated for the 2016 Games

BY ETHAN J. SKOLNICK | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
March 12, 2008

Cat Osterman remembered her. Monica Abbott, too. Crystl Bustos, her favorite, gave her a warm hug.

Last Tuesday marked the first time Jamie Gray had seen her heroes in person since October at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, when she first solicited their autographs, participated in their clinic, distributed stickers and familiarized them with her cause. By now, the Delray Beach resident with braces had become a celebrity of sorts herself—Web site creator, video star, screenplay reader.

So after the barnstorming U.S. Softball team beat Florida International University 14-0 in an exhibition at Hollywood's Osceola Park, the 14-year-old catcher felt comfortable making the rounds and her pitches. She told the U.S. coach, Mike Candrea, who also coaches Arizona, that she was his future catcher.

The message for Olympic players?

"I told them that they were playing for girls like me," Gray said. "I told them that they need to win and they need to help save it, because girls like me have a dream of playing in the Olympics."

That currently stands as a dream deferred, and not simply because Gray remains a few years short of eligibility. In 2005, the International Olympic Committee voted to cut baseball and softball starting with the 2012 Olympic program, the first sport eliminations since the removal of polo in 1936. The vote on softball was 52-52, with a majority required for retention—a majority that would have been achieved had American equipment manufacturer Jim Easton not abstained because of his concern about a conflict of interest.

Even tougher to take?

That Team USA's dominance apparently contributed to the disappointing tally. The American squad has cruised to the gold medal in all three Olympic competitions (1996, 2000 and 2004). In 2004, opponents scored a total of one run in seven games. The team, largely intact, is heavily favored to win in Beijing in August.

Gray and her mother, Tammy, will be there, cheering, after having won an Olympic ticket lottery. The irony, however, is that those victories are likely to do little to contribute to softball's reinstatement for the 2016 Games because they may just reinforce the contention of European voters that the sport is too tilted toward the Americans.

The reality is that Gray—and girls like her—may prove even more important to softball than softball is to her.

And, to her, the sport is everything.

Gray also plays soccer, basketball and volleyball at Don Estridge High Tech Middle School in Boca Raton. She has a 175 bowling average and she plans to start running track as well.

Softball, however, is her obsession. In her room, you'll find bobblehead dolls of Major League Baseball players, a framed photo of Red Sox and former Marlins star Mike Lowell and a slew of trophies she's earned playing for the Caloosa Park Crush and other teams. There's also a ball that lost its laces when she smacked it for her first grand slam. In the living room, you'll find a large photo of her, from the first time she wore catcher's gear in a game.

"We were without a catcher, and so I tried it," Gray said. "And right when a girl tried to steal on me, I threw her out, and I was like, 'Oh my God, this is fun!'"

As for the day of that Olympic vote...

Not so much fun.

"I found the information on the Internet, and I couldn't even tell her," said her mother, Tammy. "So I just wrote the Web site on a piece of paper and handed it to her. And she went and looked at it. And she's like, 'No, Mom, no, this is my dream. What can I do? What can I do?'"

Mom was a catcher for her high school softball team. Dad pitched in high school.

"But I was never as good as she is," Tammy Gray said. "I kid you not, when she first started playing baseball at YMCA in Boca, and we had to move her out of the YMCA sports and put her into city ball because we were afraid she was going to hurt someone."

Tammy wanted to help her daughter get softball back into the Olympics for 2016. She asked a friend to design a Web site so Jamie could start a petition.

That petition, on savesoftball.com, now has more than 5,200 signatures, including some from athletes abroad. The Web site also links to a six-minute documentary about Jamie on TheSoftballChannel.com.

Many in the softball world know her story. A movie producer recently sent a screenplay titled Fast Pitch, about high school girls playing softball. Jamie, who will attend Park Vista High, deemed it "really cool" that someone sought her opinion.

Nothing would be quite as cool, however, as the reinstatement she seeks. She will be 22 in 2016. The Olympics could be in Chicago, close to where her mother was raised. She wants to be on the field.

What will she do if her cause succeeds?

"I don't know," Jamie said. "Jump for joy, start crying. I'll call everybody, I'll call and be like, 'I did it, I did it, I did it, I did it, I did it!' I'll run outside and scream 'I did it' at the top of my lungs."

The members of Team USA should recognize her voice.



#2
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
You'll find photos of Jamie with the 2008 US Olympic Softball Team, in addition to her video documentary, in The Softball Channel's Team USA Section.

#3
SpartanIlliniCub

SpartanIlliniCub

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3224 posts
How many signatures are on the softball petition so far?

#4
SpartanIlliniCub

SpartanIlliniCub

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3224 posts
I looked it up and there are currently 3,000 signatures for the "Save Softball" petition.

But the International Olympic Committee (who determines what sports make the Olympic games) has to consider the sports preferences of the ENTIRE WORLD. That's almost 7 billion people....

So keep the signatures coming! Perhaps there should be a Japanese version of the petition so that fans of Team Japan can sign up too—I know that the Japanese are an important ally in the quest to reinstate softball in 2016.

#5
Titan09

Titan09

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 361 posts
That's great that there are 3,000 signatures on the "Save Softball" petition. I understand that the Olympic Committee has to take the preferences of the entire world into consideration, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

But really, who is it that is so against the reinstatement of softball??? I know the Olympic Committee's vote was split 52-52, but that is only 104 people that voted. I feel like the 52 people who voted to remove softball from the Olympics were not taking other people's opinions into consideration, and simply cast their one vote for their one opinion.

I can understand that other countries may think that the United States is dominating too much, but after what happened in Beijing, I think they should reconsider. I really really hope the petition continues to grow—softball needs to continue to be an Olympic sport.

#6
SpartanIlliniCub

SpartanIlliniCub

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3224 posts
The petition does have one thing going for it: 3,000 signatures since July, and more and more are signing it every day. However, there are some record-keeping problems with the petition. Specifically, some names are listed twice (as if the signor hit "sign" twice), and there are a significant number of people that have signed as "anonymous." I don't think the IOC will count signatures from "anonymous" sources.

Another interesting tidbit: I looked at the first few pages of the petition and didn't see Jamie Gray's own name. I would imagine that she would be signature #1...but "Richard Gray" was #1.

#7
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
Here is another article about Jamie, her petition drive, and her "Saving Softball" video produced by The Softball Channel, published by Associated Content on 06/13/08:

Fourteen Year Old Jamie Gray Tries to Save Olympic Softball
by Lee Andrew Henderson

In 2005 the Olympic committee voted that both softball and baseball would no longer be a part of the Olympics starting in 2012. The Olympic committee will vote on softball, baseball and several other sports again in 2009 and softball could be reinstated in for the 2016 Olympics. One 14 year old girl, Jamie Gray, is making it her goal to make sure that softball is reinstated.

Jamie Gray has been playing softball since she was 5 years old and it has always been her dream to play softball for the USA Olympic team. The very first Olympics that Jamie Gray would have been eligible for the Olympic softball team would have been 2012. That is until softball was taken out of the 2012 Olympics.

The professional softball league is very new and very small so the Olympics is by far the pinnacle of softball in America. Many softball players were devastated by the news that softball would no longer be in the Olympics. But instead of just being upset about it Jamie Grey decided to do something about it.

Jamie Grey started the website www.savesoftball.com and also her own blog at www.savesoftball.blogspot.com. Jamie Grey's website has a petition that people can sign if they want softball to be reinstated. So far the petition has 6,573 names and Jamie hopes to submit it to the International Olympic Committee before next year's vote. On the website people can also read Jaime's story or watch a video about her that was featured on TheSoftballChannel.com.

There was not a definite reason given by the International Olympic Committee as to why softball was taken out of the Olympics. Some believe it is because the sport is too dominated by the American team. The USA Olympic softball team is pretty dominant; they easily won the 2004 Olympics. However, not long after it was announced that softball would not be in the 2012 Olympics the USA Softball team lost in the World Cup of Softball and the Japan Cup, proving that there actually is competition in International Softball.



#8
SpartanIlliniCub

SpartanIlliniCub

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3224 posts
Is progress still being made on the petition?

#9
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
Yes! As of today there are 10,150 total signatures: 7,000 from Jamie’s original petition, and 3,150 from her second one. You can sign up at either www.savesoftball.com or www.savesoftball.blogspot.com.

While these numbers may not seem large relative to the huge number of softball fans around the world, they are definitely impressive for petition drives of this sort. Hopefully they will catch the eye of the International Olympic Committee when they make their final decision about the 2016 Olympics next year.

I looked it up and there are currently 3,000 signatures for the "Save Softball" petition.

As I mentioned above, the 3,000 signatures (now 3,150) refer to Jamie's second petition only—she also collected 7,000 signatures on her original petition.

Another interesting tidbit: I looked at the first few pages of the petition and didn't see Jamie Gray's own name. I would imagine that she would be signature #1...but "Richard Gray" was #1.

Richard Gray's name appears on the second petition, Jamie Gray's on the first. Richard Gray is Jamie's father.

#10
Titan09

Titan09

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 361 posts
Will the International Olympic Committee being making their decision about softball's Olympic reinstatment early in the year, or not until later in the year? I hope they meet in January or February! I really want to know what their decision is going to be...I hope they make the right choice. As a softball fan and softball player, I feel as though it is my duty to sign Jamie Gray's petition. I am going to go do that right now. I figure every signature helps!

#11
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
The XIII Olympic Congress & 121st IOC Session will take place October 1-9, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The vote on softball's possible return to the Olympic Games for 2016 will likely take place on or about October 2nd. Here's the exact itinerary:

October 1-2 2009: 121st IOC Session – part 1

October 1:
Opening Ceremony in the Copenhagen Opera House with HM Queen Margrethe as guest

October 2:
The IOC elects the 2016 Olympic Games host. The Candidate Cities are Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid. The President of the United States of America, the Emperor of Japan, the President of Brazil and the Spanish Royal Family are expected to be present in Copenhagen during the host city election.

October 3-5 2009: 13th Olympic Congress

From October 3 to 5, the XIII Olympic Congress is under way. The participants at the XIII Olympic Congress will discuss the five sub-themes that cover the main theme: The Olympic Movement in Society.

The sub-themes:

Theme 1: The athletes

• Relationship between the athletes, the clubs, federations and the NOC's
• Health protection in training and competition
• The social and professional life of athletes during and after elite competition

Theme 2: The Olympic Games

• How to keep the Games as a premier event?
• The Olympic values
• Universality and developing countries

Theme 3: The structure of the Olympic Movement

• The autonomy of the Olympic Movement
• Good governance and ethics
• The relationships between the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders

Theme 4: Olympism and Youth

• Moving towards an active society
• Is competitive sport still appealing?
• Youth sports events

Theme 5: The digital revolution

• A new management of sports rights
• How to increase the size of the sports audience?
• Communication with stakeholders in the digital age

October 7-9 2009: 121st IOC Session – second part

E.g.:

• The second part of the Session will see elections for the IOC
• Election of IOC President
• At the end of the 121st IOC Session and XIII Olympic Congress, there will be a grand Closing Ceremony—"See you in Denmark"—on October 9, 2009 in Tivoli Garden.



#12
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
Posted Image

To learn about the International Softball Federation’s crusade to get softball back into the Olympics, see the separate topic BackSoftball Campaign by the ISF, Crusade for softball's Olympic reinstatement.

#13
SpartanIlliniCub

SpartanIlliniCub

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3224 posts
Does Jamie Gray have any updates on the Save Softball campaign?

#14
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
As of today there are 10,450 total signatures: 7,000 from Jamie’s original petition, and 3,450 from her second one.

Here’s an interview of Jamie by Ryan Lieber of WPTV Channel 5 prior to her departure for the Beijing Games:


#15
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
Posted Image

A few years ago, softball legend Lisa Fernandez sponsored a Help Save Softball! letter writing campaign to reinstate the sport into the 2012 Olympic Games. As we all know, the deadline for the 2012 Games has come and gone, but Lisa's idea was a good one. I’m not talking about sending emails or signing a petition, but a good old fashioned “snail mail” campaign. Here was her reasoning:

The Women's Sports Foundation (one of the biggest charitable organizations in the world for female athletes) has made it its top priority to pressure the IOC to get softball back in the 2012 Olympics. They found that the best effect to truly put enough pressure on the IOC is to overwhelm them with letters of protest. E-mails can be deleted; petitions are just a list of names with no voice. But for them to receive an overwhelming amount of mail regarding softball's removal, not just from the US but from around the world, can make a huge difference!

I’ve taken the liberty of updating and shortening Lisa’s letter as follows:

RE: PROTEST THE ELIMINATION OF WOMEN’S SOFTBALL FROM OLYMPIC COMPETITION AND ADVOCATE FOR THE REVERSAL OF THIS DECISION

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken action to eliminate a net of 118 participation opportunities for women in the Olympic Games by removing the sport of women’s softball from the 2012 Olympic Games.

This action is in direct contradiction to the IOC’s stated goal of increasing the participation of women in the Olympic Games, and represents a serious setback in efforts to achieve gender equity in Olympic participation. On behalf of the international women’s sports community, I implore the IOC to reconsider and rescind this action by reinstating women’s softball into the 2016 Olympic Games.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Your Address

If you really want to get involved, you could copy and paste this letter into a Microsoft Word document (or something similar), print it out and mail it. But where? Lisa lists all the members of the IOC, the members of the IOC Executive Board, and the members of the IOC Women and Sport Commission at LisaFernandez16.com. But sending letters to all of these individuals is a monumental task! I recommend targeting just a few. Anita Defrantz would be at the top of my list:

Posted Image

Anita L. Defrantz is an Olympic medalist, community activist, attorney, and the first woman in the history of the International Olympic Committee to serve as its vice president. In addition to earning a bronze medal as captain of the US Women’s rowing team in the 1976 Games, she won a silver medal in the 1978 world championships, was a member of the 1980 Olympic team, was a finalist in the world championships four times, and won six national championships. She is currently the Chairperson of the IOC’s Women and Sport Commission and the IOC Athletes’ Commission Election Committee, and is a Director of the United States Olympic Committee. She was also named one of “L.A.’s Most Powerful Sports Executives” in 2005 by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Here is what she wrote about women's sports just prior to the 2004 Olympic Games, in an article entitled Olympic Women Enrich the Game:

During the first three quarters of the 20th century, women's opportunities were frustrated by the bigotry of some sport administrators as well as by the misguided notion that women were too fragile to play sports and that athleticism was antithetical of "true womanhood." Women made up only a small percentage of the total number of Olympic athletes and women's Olympic events were just a small portion of the total sports program....

The IOC is committed to the principle of strict equality of men and women. And we recognize the importance of having more people involved in sport at every level. The great-untapped human resource of the world is made up of women.

Through their demonstration of athletic prowess and competitive spirit female athletes have contributed to a new understanding of the capabilities of women and their role in society.

If there is anything we have learned in the past quarter century it is that female athletes contribute mightily to the world of sport. Some of the most riveting moments in recent Olympic history, in fact, have involved women.

Based on her own words, can you think of a more perfect spokesperson for softball's Olympic reinstatement?

Here is the address she has registered with the California state bar:

Anita L. Defrantz
LA84 Foundation
2141 W Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90018
323-730-4613

And here is her IOC address:

Anita L. Defrantz
Vice President, International Olympic Committee
Chairperson, IOC Women and Sport Commission
Château de Vidy
1007 Lausanne
Switzerland

And if you want to go straight to the absolute top, here's your man—Count Jacques Rogge, 8th President of the IOC:

Posted Image

Jacques Rogge
President
International Olympic Committee
Château de Vidy
1007 Lausanne
Switzerland

And let's not forget the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Olympic Committee, Jim Scherr:

Posted Image

Jim Scherr
Chief Executive Officer
United States Olympic Committee
1 Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
webmaster@usoc.org
719-632-5551‎

You can also send the USOC a direct email at this link: http://www.usoc.org/contact_us/ngb.

The IOC meets on October 2nd of this year to determine the fate of softball for 2016, so let's all step up the effort for reinstatement!

#16
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
Two-time Olympian Jessica Mendoza (2004 & 2008) has been chosen as one of twelve softball players from around the world to participate in the Athlete Ambassador program for the BackSoftball Campaign aimed at getting softball reinstated for the Olympics in 2016. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith (1996 & 2000) will serve as chairperson for the group (see separate post).

Jessica, Michele and eleven other Athlete Ambassadors will represent softball at different international events, helping to get the word out about softball’s attempt to reestablish itself as an Olympic sport. The International Olympic Committee votes on whether or not to reinstate softball into the 2016 Summer Games at their Session in October 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark (see separate post).

#17
jlurban

jlurban

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 1441 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wheaton, Illinois
News article from GamesBids.com, posted 4/4/09, 10:22 AM CST:

Softball Makes Progress Towards Olympic Reinstatement

Softball is one of seven sports vying for a spot on the Olympic program starting in 2016. The IOC will meet in October in Copenhagen to vote on at least two new sports to add to the Summer Games but for the International Softball Federation (ISF) this is a reinstatement campaign since Softball was already an Olympic event over four Olympiads starting in 1996.

Last year the ISF launched BackSoftball—an initiative to get softball back into the Olympics that includes a 10-point blueprint of what it hopes to achieve.

"We've addressed most of the issues; some slower than others so that by the time we get to the IOC [International Olympic Committee] in June, we can show that we've made progress," President of ISF Don Porter explained to GamesBids.com.

"We've positioned the issues in front of IOC members and we keep softball in the news."

Porter outlined further achievements including the addition of more major competitions and attracting attention from the media—especially television.

A key element of the blueprint is to increase the number of dedicated Softball Federations that will help increase the number of worldwide participants in the sport.

"There are seven or eight new federations about to be organized and were going to try to accelerate that. There should be four or five in the next month or two," Porter said.

As a strategy to drive interest in the Middle East, the ISF became involved in "Generations For Peace"—an initiative of Jordan's Prince Feisal to help children become involved in sport and to promote sports leadership in the region. Softball's inclusion in the program has given young females opportunities to participate and as a result, Jordan has established a National Softball Federation and the ISF has made inroads in the region.

But reinstatement won't come easy.

"We've got some really good competitors," Porter said.

"It's hard to gauge [how we are doing], it's a work in progress. Softball has many elements including universality, growth, youth and female participation."

In another positive step forward, the ISF is opening a new office in Lausanne, Switzerland this month in order to escalate their level of communication with the IOC—also based in Lausanne.

Several new events and tournaments are scheduled between now and the decision date in October, and new softball regional training centres are opening in Santo Domingo, Moscow, Rome and Beijing.

Softball will be competing against baseball, golf, rugby, squash, karate and roller sports for its chance to be reinstated on the Olympic program.



#18
SpartanIlliniCub

SpartanIlliniCub

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3224 posts
Jamie Gray's "Save Softball" petition continues to get new signatures every day. Her second petition is currently up to 3,487, and has 4 new signatures today!

#19
SpartanIlliniCub

SpartanIlliniCub

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3224 posts
Here is a YouTube clip I found from HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumble. It interviews Don Porter, President of the International Softball Federation, and talks about softball's removal from the Olympics. It also features an interview with Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza about their reaction to the news that softball is no longer an Olympic sport. Good segment!



#20
Gigi

Gigi

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Interests:playing softball
This is a great idea. It could also help many countries such as Peru, where softball is unpopular but well known for many
young girls that want to develop this sport and need support in order to reach their softball goals.

I play on a team called the Black Hocks. I am trying to improve my pitching but here is still difficult doing that.

Anyway this forum is awesome and I hope you keep in touch with somebody who is interested in knowing about us!

See you soon!

Gigi




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users