According to Upper Deck Report: http://www.upperdeckreport.com/news_article/show/87355?referrer_id=290772
“Slo-pitch softball has enjoyed an amazing growth rate. It has grown from 27.2 million participants in 1972 to 36.2 million in 1980. In 1990, the figure was 39.8 million. It is currently estimated that more than 45 MILLION play slow-pitch softball in organized, sanctioned leagues. Slow-pitch softball is now becoming a sport of choice as early as elementary school as an alternative to baseball for America’s youth. ”
In Canada the National Slo Pitch Association is the fastest growing softball association with Canadian world series tournaments for masters, co-ed and a Canadian native world series to name a few. Learn more at http://www.nsacanada.ca/index.php
So it is a good idea for us to take this game seriously not only as a fast growing sport but one that all ages and skill levels can play. All you have to do is look at the number of teams and leagues that are active in businesses big and small. Ask your friends if they play slo pitch and I bet you a dollar that at least 1 of them is currently playing on a work team or has played on one.
When we consider the Long Term Player Development Plan, found on the Softball Canada web site at http://www.softball.ca/files/2011CompetitionReview.pdf and the Active for Life stage of the plan, you can see that we want players at all ages participating in this game as the life long sport that it can be, and this is one of the options. Softball does not have to played for a scholarship or to attain a spot on the national team or to play overseas. And although slo pitch is a great alternative for fast pitch it does not by any means lack competitiveness, just ask any team competing in their championships.
I know someone who is in her 70’s who now plays on at least 1 slo pitch team and coaches another, and has also coached fast pitch for years with many successes in her “spare” time. Talk about a life long sport. She is a legend in this game and is a true example of what this sport can do for anyone, at any age. It is truly amazing 🙂