World Softball Day to boost global awareness and Olympic hopes

Wed 11 Jun 2014

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the world governing body for baseball and softball, will be promoting a celebration of World Softball Day 2014 around the globe and among its 141 National Federation members on Friday 13 June.

The creation of World Softball Day was inspired by Olympic Day, which is celebrated annually on 23 June, and by the announcement on 13 June 1991 by the International Olympic Committee that women's softball was to be, for the first time in history, included on the Olympic programme.
 

Participation

For World Softball Day 2014, the WBSC will be encouraging all its national federations and individuals of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to participate in softball activity.  This is part of a global initiative to put softball at the service of society to promote health, physical activity, social integration and international spirit, as well as to inspire future generations of boys and girls to become empowered through sport and through softball.

In Britain, boys and girls will be trying softball and baseball on World Softball Day through the launch of a Play Ball! programme funded by BSUK and Major League Baseball at Farnham Park. 

BSUK Joint CEO Jenny Fromer said: "We try to recognise World Softball Day every year, because we feel it's an important marker in the campaign to restore our sports to the Olympic Games and to demonstrate what they have to offer, particularly to young people."

"World Softball Day will be a time of celebration to promote the idea that anybody in the world can become active in sport," said WBSC Secretary General Ms Beng Choo Low.  "Softball can serve as an attractive option for sport because it can be enjoyed almost anywhere and by children as young as two years of age to those beyond their eighties."

WBSC officials also see World Softball Day 2014 as "boosting awareness" -- particularly during the current review on the formation of the Olympic Programme for 2020.  Softball, along with baseball, serves as a common bond for millions of people from diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds in more than 140 nations around the world, and softball is a means of encouraging young people – and especially females -- to participate in sport and to make sport increasingly relevant to them.

Dale McMann, WBSC Executive Vice-President and ISF President, said: "With World Softball Day 2014, the WBSC will continue building baseball/softball's position together as one of the world's leading and most inclusive, gender-balanced global sports.”

WBSC officials have confirmed that they will also study potential implementation dates for a World Baseball Day and a World Baseball Softball Day.
 

Social media drive

Those taking part in World Softball Day around the globe will be encouraged, not only to celebrate softball on 13 June, but to share their experience with the world via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the official hashtag #WorldSoftballDay.

The WBSC Twitter account -- @WBSC_co -- will be actively re-tweeting the "best of" World Softball Day quotes, posts and images throughout the day. The WBSC Facebook page will be sharing posts for further engagement.

"World Softball Day will keep our sport evolving and strengthen the connection with millions of young people everywhere and with today's youth culture, which is increasingly mobile and digital," said Beng Choo Low and Dale McMann.

The announcement of World Softball Day 2014 comes only days after WBSC officials hailed the birth of the Francophone Association of Baseball Softball, which targets growth in a network of 77 French-speaking territories and nearly 900 million people worldwide, and which media experts feel will serve to boost the sports' Olympic bid.

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