Birmingham Softball League: a great success!
Thu 20 Sep 2012
On June 21, the Birmingham Bobcats Softball Club launched the first mid-week softball league in the city since the 1990s. The league ran for six weeks and was viewed as a pilot development programme to establish whether a league would be viable in Birmingham in 2013. In the event, the league was a huge success and preparations are currently being made for next season.
The league consisted of four teams -- the Harborne Hammerheads, the Minotaurs (inspired by the iconic Bull Ring statue), the Roosters and the Weasels.
Originally, the teams were formed from members from the Bobcats Softball club, which in June had just over 40 people on its books. This was initially quite risky, as the club had an unequal ratio of male and female members and games depended on everyone turning up each week.
However the league turned out to be the best recruitment campaign the Bobcats have ever undertaken!
From the word go, the league attracted both new and former players. It also appealed to those in the baseball community and to softballers from other leagues, such as Manchester and the East Midlands. There was even an article about the BSL in the Manchester Softball League’s Bases Loaded magazine.
The enthusiasm, excitement and support provided by everyone involved was immense and it is clear that the creation of the BSL will be beneficial not only to those in Birmingham and the West Midlands region, but also to the wider softball community.
The league did suffer some teething problems (predominantly associated with a lack of female players and the horrendous weather), but nothing that can't be addressed before next season.
More importantly, the league reached out to those who were either not interested in tournaments or were unable to participate at weekends. Strong team bonds were developed and more people were encouraged to become involved in the administrative side of the league (promotion, recruitment etc) as well as to become coaches and umpires.
The league was won by the Minotaurs, who played extremely well all season. They were led by Quentin Young, former head coach of the Birmingham Bobcats, as his last hurrah before moving to Uzbekistan.
The league would not have been possible without the support of Will Lintern, Midlands Development Manager for BaseballSoftballUK (and member of the Minotaurs), along with the Birmingham Bobcats Softball Club and Committee and all those who participated from other leagues.
However, a special thank you should go to Jim Kent whose excitement and graphic design propelled the BSL and made it such a success and to Kate Page-Smith for managing and organising the competition.
Anyone interested in participating in the Birmingham Softball League in 2013 should contact the Birmingham Bobcats Softball Club, who are very keen to hear from you!
To find out what else is happening with the Bobcats check out their blog.