At this year’s British Softball Federation AGM, the Bobcats’ were represented by Kate (Tournament and Marketing Manager) and Chris (general committee member). Here is a report from our man in the field:
Chris Williams reports:
The Bobcats are everywhere. Even at the BSF’s AGM which was held in
on 18th Feb. Manchester
Now, Annual General Meetings may not strike you as the most exciting of events but you are wrong. They are very useful occasions – this one gave the BSF President, Stella Ackrell, a chance to give her special award (for progress and development by a club) The Presidents Club Award – which incidentally is BIGGER than all the other awards they give out, to …. yes, you may have heard already …. the
Bobcats. Go Bobcats – thanks you to everyone who has helped put us on the softball map. Birmingham
That wasn’t the only thing we got from the event: BSF ran a “Give a Glove, Bring a Bat" campaign last year, urging players from the softball community to donate old or unused playing equipment to provide starter packs for new teams. We were considered by the BSF executive as the most promising team and potential league and came away with a complete kit of refurbished bases (better than our current ones!), a catchers mask, bats, balls and loads of gloves! We really appreciate this donation from our softball colleagues and herby pledge to put it to good use in growing the West Midlands and Mercia leagues.
We did have to sit through some less interesting stuff, like the hour long+ debate about how to run the National Softball League (NSL) competition this year. It’s complicated and doesn’t affect us (yet) but because the sport is now setting up a permanent national base at Farnham – planning permission finally having been granted - and some other key tournaments are clashing, then the process of seeding the best 16 teams in the
to play in the NSL Championship has been a bit difficult. In the end it was agreed, or decided, that there would be 4 compulsory tournaments that NSL teams must play each other in to get qualification for the final 16-team decider. UK
Mike Jennings, whom many of you will know, gave an excellent snappy workshop on how teams could set up and run ‘Corporate’ event team building days to generate large amounts of income for their clubs. Some of his suggestions, such the simplified hit it and run like hell rules, may be really useful in making the Bobcats Charity Derby Tournament a success.
John Boyd from BSUK gave a presentation outlining how the sport is being developed to ensure there are more teams and that players get a better sporting experience. The really good news is that while most other government funded bodies are losing funding, the grant for BSUK has actually been increased, which just shows how popular the sport is becoming. From 350 teams at the start of 2009 the sport is expected to more than double and reach 876 teams by 2013, and the Bobcats were one of three prime examples cited by John as a centre of excellence for such growth (although they used our Christmas logo). You can look forward to seeing the next Whole Sport Plan that BSUK will be putting out for consultation later this year which will set the tone and the funding opportunities for the next four year period 2013-2017. We want some of that!
After lobbying James Reilly, BSF’s Coaching and Development Officer, we have requested special coaching support from national level GB coaches to visit the club and hold special training sessions – funded by BSF.
One of the initiatives BSF are running in 2013 is the European GB Slowpitch Challenge which is aimed at raising the European perception of slowpitch softball as a competitive sport – they have decided to send a team to the
. Does that sound familiar? Maybe they should plan a trip to Cologne next year! We have informed BSF of the TourCats and they have offered to make the TourCats a registered GB team! Netherlands
BSAU started a humdinger debate about the ending of timed games at tournaments which has affected a lot of teams (remember
Leicester?). After lot of quite intense discussion it was decided that No New Innings will be called at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the next game, so that games can be played to a natural conclusion with minimum impact on tournament schedules. This will be linked to team captains having their line up ready prior to the scheduled start, or be at risk of forfeiting their game, to help maximize fair game playing time.
There was lots of business to be dealt with – fees for team registration are being held at the same level as last year, the Executive team were all re-elected unopposed (luckily a certain Bobcat was persuaded not too add their name to the nominations forms because we don’t want them being distracted from what needs doing in Brum), a new budget was approved including reduced insurance premiums that permit extra spend on things like the special coaching sessions.
We also met lots of other team organisers and really got the impression that they want to meet the Bobcats at their tournaments; Pete from Glasgow, Dave from the Pioneers, Dan at Loughborough, Rich & Gemma in Leeds, Neil at Bristol, Kelly from Manchester and Luis representing Warrington.
A string of awards were announced for the Hall of Fame - best Team Managers, Umpires, Administrators and Players in UK softball. Bob Fromer was given the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement” award for his fundamental, massive and consistent contribution to the sport. Oh and did we mention that the Presidents Club Award went to the Birmingham Bobcats? J