Softball as a Subculture
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Softball as a subculture
American culture consists of many different subcultures; subcultures are a culture within a culture with their own way of customs, beliefs and ways of life. A subculture that has made its mark in America is the sport of softball. The game of softball was invented in 1887 and is a variant of baseball, but played with a larger ball, on a smaller field, and played by women. Around the time of 1933 softball officially got its name and an interest in the sport started to grow and sparked the Amateur Softball Association of America. The ASA governs the game in the United States and sponsors annual sectional and World Series championships. This rapid growth of softball spread internationally and this growth caused the international softball federation to be founded. The ISF regulates rules play in more than 110 countries including the United States and Canada. Womans fast pitch softball became a Summer Olympic sport in 1996, but it was dropped in 2005 from the 2012 games. There are two types of softball: slow-pitch and fast-pitch, each varying different rules. Even though slow-pitch softball is most common type, my subculture lies in the fast pitch category. There are many types of organizations that you can participate in like Little League, All Stars, High School, Travel ball and College.
I have belonged to this subculture since I was four years old and have continued residing in this subculture for 18 years, when it all started in t-ball. Being only four years old I dont remember much, besides running around the bases the wrong way and picking daisys in the outfield but I do remember since this young age I knew that that beautiful diamond covered in dirt was where I belonged. Little league softball was established in 1974 and today 360,000 athletes participate on more than 24, 00 softball teams in over 20 countries. It started out with only two divisions but now offers programs for girls ages 4 through 18. Every year local little league enrolls players within their boundaries to create teams and play a regular season against neighboring communities. Then in June, leagues have the opportunity to select and enter all-star teams to compete in little league international tournament. This tournament happens in seven stages going through district section, state, region and World Series. Little league brings so many positive attributes to childrens lives cultivating friendships and memories along the way alongside with teamwork, sportsmanship and developing leaders. I have the best memories from playing little league and it taught me at a young age some of lifes most valuable lessons alongside with doing something that makes my soul happy. Children will reap in the benefits from participating in Little League.
After Little League, my journey leads to high school softball. I didnt attend a huge high school so I didnt have much competition than most schools have, but it worked in my favor. By the time high school rolled around I was in my 14th year of softball. High school sports differ from previous leagues mentioned the hard part comes where you have to try out and make the team, and no free passes are given. High school softball is split into two divisions, junior and varsity teams, most commonly freshmen and sophomores were varsity and juniors and seniors were varsity. I was lucky to be on varsity all four years of high school, most people arent that lucky. High school softball includes daily practice, tournaments, and when season starts practice and games. You have to really learn how to manage your time and make everything work. This type of softball you play with people who are in your league and the people in your league are schools in a certain range and a certain division. After you play your season of games which starts February, you go into a round of play offs, the best teams go forth and play against each other for a seed in the CIF championships. Each division has their own championship so there are about eight champions from each eight divisions. My junior year of high school I was very blessed to be in the CIF championship game for division eight. After an amazing season, we ended up taking the whole thing and won the title. I will forever remember that game and the time of my life, it changes you as a person being a part of something so amazing like that. That season was one of the greatest seasons I have ever played and those memories I will forever cherish in my heart, along with a special bond from my teammates.
Travel Ball softball is way different from any of the previous types of softball mentioned before. This organization of softball has a much higher level of skill and competition; most girls who play travel ball softball do so because they are trying to get seen by college scouts and recruits. Like high school softball you have to try out for these teams but its cut throat. The better the team and the better the scouts are to come see the girls, college coaches and recruits dont waste their time, you have what very little time to be seen and grab a scholarship while competing thousands and thousands of other teams and girls. Travel ball teams consist of brutal five or more hour practice on weekends and weekend tournaments with three or more games each day. The travel ball life is a brutal time, you drive all night to the tournaments just to wake up at five to play three back to back games with no break, beat up and bleeding just to do the same thing again the next two days. After your day of games is over you would think you could go to sleep? No you have to keep up with your school work because college coaches only look at 3.0 GPAs. You live breathe and sleep softball so you must be tough and headstrong. Of course this type of softball is not free, its actually extremely expensive. First you have to pay just to try out and if you make the team then come a whole new set of expenses such as team dues which is a couple hundred, gas to practice and tournaments, and hotel costs. It adds up a lot but the level of playing from high school to travel ball is incomparable. It makes you a better player