I was able to take some time today to watch my niece play softball. She is playing in a 14U tournament with her traveling team, Wicked, visiting from Southern California to play in the Mt. Vernon / Sedro Woolley area. This is a Western Regional event along with about 150 teams from California, Oregon, and Washington.
Wow --- This game is LOUD!
One thing I learned today about softball is that the teams are REALLY LOUD! This video is an example of the cacophony while the pitcher is getting set, winding up, and delivering the pitch.
This happens on every pitch. Sometimes combined with shaking and pounding on the chain link fencing in the dugout. These pitchers have nerves of steel and my respect.
As a point of comparison. This does not happen in Little League --- at least where my kids play there is a local rule that prevents it.
Something Wicked this was Comes
If you ever thought softball was the easy going game your buddies play on the weekends. That’s NOT the way the Wicked Fastpitch Softball organization plays.It was great seeing her play and watching how these girls play the game. I hesitate to call them girls because they are young women who are playing this sport at a very competitive level.
Fielding a ball
At Bat –
Squaring off for a bunt
The Scene in the Dugout -
Everybody is up!
I was also impressed by the camaraderie this team exhibited. All the players were on the fence, focused on the game and cheering their teammates on. This was GREAT to see. This is where the LOUD comes from. Everyone is making noise and I think it has an impact on how they play. It keeps everyone focused and their heads in the game.
Sadly, this is NOT something we see a lot of in Little League. As mentioned above the game is loud and while it is somewhat of a distraction --- that’s the point. Perhaps Little League will bring back to good old days when everyone was chanting “Hey batter, batter … SWING!”
Academics Matter – The Wicked Teams
I took a look at the Wicked 18U web site and saw that there is a strong focus on academics. The 18U team carries an average 3.55 GPA and many of the players have committed to colleges and universities. This is great to see on several levels – first and foremost is the fact that success at the academic level is transferrable beyond sports. And sadly a sports career can be over in a flash with an injury. I’m glad to see the Wicked players are receiving guidance for both sports and academics.
I’m hoping to get a chance to see the Wicked 14U team play more softball this weekend. It’s really fun to watch and it’s a very different dynamic at this competitive level. I would love to see my niece play at the college of her choice and even in the Olympics (if they bring baseball and softball back to the Olympics). When she makes it to the next level I’m sure I’ll blog about it. Watch this space.