By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Following its first Executive Committee meeting of 2017 last week, the BVI Softball Association unveiled a myriad of plans that includes election of officers, the starting of the 2017 fast pitch league and plans for the 2028 Olympic Games, according to Chief Umpire and acting president Glenford “Chappy” Maduro.
Maduro who has been at the helm in an acting role since Neville “Sheep” Smith stepped down more than two years ago, said that they have set Monday, January 30 for a meeting between the board of managers and the executive. During that meeting, managers should have rosters ready for the 2017 fast pitch league, which has been tentatively set to open on Mar 11.
The BVISA brass have set the election of officers to the association’s body for Feb 13. Over the last two years, several unsuccessful meetings have been call with an attempt of electing a new executive body. Maduro admits that it has been a really tough task getting people to commit.
“Some people stay on the outside and say what needs to be done, but, when you get in there, it’s a totally different ballgame,” he noted. “The support you get from players, fans and business community in terms of sponsorship to help us in presenting awards to players, with the economic problems we’ve been having everyone has tightened up on their budget, so it’s hard in getting awards for players.”
Maduro noted that the body has been in place for a while and in the Constitution, they have added some new positions with hopes of getting more people involved. They’re also hoping that they get a good turnout for elections. Since they have had problems attracting persons for the executive, he said they are looking at having both pre elections nominations and persons being nominated from the floor during the meeting.
With Softball joining with Baseball to get back into the Olympics starting with Tokyo 2020, Maduro said they have added a 1stand 2nd Vice president posts, one of the posts is specifically for a woman to deal with women’s affairs, in particular the league and and junior women’s program.
“Softball is back in the Olympics and we are striving very hard to get young ladies involved so that we can tentatively set 2028 as a goal to get into the Olympic Games,” Maduro said. “We have to put in place a grassroots program to help the league and get the sport back to where it used to be. One of the things we’re really lacking is pitching. If we want to get back to where we were, we have to get back into the youth and we’re appealing especially to the females. We plan to introduce girl’s leagues targeting players Under 6, 8, 10 and 12.”
Pitching, Maduro noted has been a major problem. The art has gone downhill over the last 30 years, since the BVI played Cuba in the bronze medal game at the 1987 Pan Am Games, where they suffered a narrow 4-3 loss.
“Pitching is 90% of softball and if we are planning on getting back on the stage where we were in the Pan Am Games, we have to develop pitching,” he stated. “Even if we have to hold pitching camps, that’s what we’ll have to do. We have the expertise to teach fielding and hitting, but, if we have to import people from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, wherever, we would have to do that to help develop our pitching.”
Maduro said while there are homebased persons who can teach it, they came up pitching off ability and mimicking others, but they never learn the fundaments to prevent developing arm problems. They and are now suffering and they don’t want new pitchers developing the same problems.