On the 21st June 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. Needless to say the event 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. The teams were originally only formed of members from the Bobcats Softball club, which in June included just over 40 members. This was initially quite risky as the club had an unequal ratio of male and female members and the teams were based 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. 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.
Although the league did suffer some teething problems, (predominantly associated with a lack of female players and the horrendous weather) but there was nothing that could not be address 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, it developed strong team bonds, encouraged more people to become involved in the administrative side of the league (i.e. promotion, recruitment etc), and inspired more coaches and umpires.
The league was won by the Minotaurs, who played extremely well all season. They were lead 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 BSUK, 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 event.
If anyone is interested in participating in the BSL in 2013 please contact the Birmingham Bobcats Softball Club who are very keen to hear from you. http://www.westmidsoftball.com/