80 years of excellence and service to softball

By Codi Warren | Sept. 12, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The year 2013 marks a special milestone for the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball as it celebrates 80 years of innovation, leadership and excellence.  When the first organized softball tournament occurred September 2-9, 1933 during the Word's Fair in Chicago, ASA/USA's founding fathers Leo Fischer and Michael J. Pauley realized a universal set of rules needed to exist, thus establishing what would soon be known as the ASA.  With the formation of the ASA, softball finally had a foundation from which to grow and develop.  Since that time, ASA/USA Softball has emerged as the nation's leading softball organization and offers athletes from the ages of eight to eighty the opportunity to play "The Game America Plays".  Here, we celebrate the strides that ASA/USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the U.S., has made during its 80 years of existence to better the sport and it's participants.           

Did you know…

·        Prior to the founding of the Amateur Softball Association in 1933, softball was in a state of confusion and without a universal set of rules.  When founders Fischer and Pauley laid the foundation for softball's future by adopting a universal set of rules, they set the stage for what would become softball's national governing body.

·        The Amateur Softball Association is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization which mean's our goal is not to make a profit. Every dollar generated from grassroots softball goes directly back into improving and furthering the sport.

·        As the National Governing Body of Softball, it is ASA/USA Softball’s responsibility to ensure that our coaches achieve a certain level of understanding of what their duties are as coach of a youth softball team. Therefore we established the ACE (Achieve, Certify, Educate) Coaching Certification Program. ACE was developed and designed to provide softball coaches of all levels – from beginning coaches to experienced veterans – an opportunity to certify as a coach with a national softball organization.

·        Evaluations are conducted at each ASA/USA National Championship around the country on a yearly bases in an effort to correct any issues that are identified for the future. The James Farrell Awards of Excellence are distributed each year at the ASA/USA National Council meeting to host sites who receive high evaluation marks for excellence in conducting an ASA/USA National Championships.  The host city must attain a percentile of 95 percent in each of the evaluation categories of ASA/USA Representative, Umpire-In-Chief and National Office to receive the James Farrell Award of Excellence.

·        ASA/USA Softball completed over 70,000 background checks this year on coaches and personnel who surround our game because we care about the athletes safety and protecting our athletes and environment is our TOP priority!

·        Every year ASA/USA Softball donates money to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer research! Each Fall, ASA/USA conducts an online auction of pink items signed by our national teams and give the proceeds to help find a cure!  Not only is this done on a National level, local ASA/USA Association umpires, staff and volunteers participate in a variety of programs ranging from memorial tournaments to fundraisers to help benefit breast cancer research. 

·        Over 30,000 umpires register and certify with ASA/USA each and every year! ASA/USA is the ONLY softball association to offer complete training and bi-annual Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) clinics, in which over 300 umpires and UIC's attend, to help umpires achieve their goals and promote a positive experience for athletes and coaches.

·        ASA/USA Softball has taken great strides to protect the integrity of the sport. Each year, ASA/USA's Equipment Testing and Certification committee examines the current rules and specifications governing various items of equipment. This committee makes recommendations to ASA/USA's council comprised of ASA/USA commissioners, select youth and player representatives, umpire-in-chiefs, elite athletes and other affiliated members. The council is the ultimate decision maker of ASA/USA rules and regulations regarding equipment. ASA/USA uses certified labs that specialize in the dynamics of bat and ball collisions and these labs use all of the latest ASTM Standards when performing these tests. The results in the lab help ASA/USA better understand equipment performance through experimental testing and numeric model.

·        Several years ago ASA/USA started a Coaches Committee to gather input from youth coaches around the country to better improve the ASA/USA program.  Most of the coaches are involved in large organizations of teams that encompass 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18-Under. We also have ASA/USA Representatives at our National Championships that ask for input on how we can improve our program.

·        Did you know that the ASA Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City and houses both the ASA Hall of Fame museum as well as the ASA/USA National Office. The ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, located across the parking lot from the Hall of Fame Museum, annually hosts the NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS), the World Cup of Softball as well as a number of other college and youth softball events.

·        ASA/USA Softball is active in promoting community involvement, responsible sports and volunteerism through a variety of programs.  Each year, ASA/USA and Musco Lighting award a registered Junior Olympic (JO) team with $2,000 towards the next year's tournament registration fees for showing a strong commitment to community service.  ASA/USA is also actively involved with bettering youth sports through the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports (LMIRS) Program, which provides expert advice for coaches and parents.  Twice a year, ASA/USA and the LMIRS Program offer $2500 community grants to youth sports teams, clubs and organizations who rally supporters to create a Responsible Sports environment.

·        ASA/USA Softball has a national partnership with Special Olympics Softball that we assist and administer our sports National Games each and every year. Our umpires volunteer their time and efforts and ASA/USA donates thousands of score books to teams across the nation to help their programs grow. Several of Special Olympic Associations have teamed up with our local ASA/USA Associations in providing venues and services to grow the Special Olympics softball efforts.

·        ASA is the primary funding source for the USA Softball National teams programs! All five programs (Junior Women, Junior Men, Women, Men, and Men's Slow Pitch) are still alive and well because of the efforts of the ASA and keeping athletes wearing the Red, White and Blue is a top priority. We are the only softball association who supports this effort and provides financially to these teams!

·        The National Team Program has come a long way since the first time USA Softball was represented internationally at the 1965 International Softball Federation (ISF) Women's World Championship and 1966 ISF Men's World Championship. Initially, only the winners of the ASA Men's and Women's Major Fast Pitch National Championships would represent the U.S. at international events until 1986 when an All-Star format was adopted.  In the 1990's, two National Team Selection Committees (NTSC) were established to select the athletes who would represent the U.S. on the five National Teams.  Each NTSC is comprised of an athlete representative who represents the requirements of the USOC, the head coach of the National Team to be selected and three members who are either allied members of the ASA or members of ASA/USA Softball.  NTSC members work throughout the year and scout a variety of events across the country.

·        ASA/USA Softball continues to give back to athletes and coaches through the National Team Program.  Our USA Softball athletes put on youth clinics, attend our JO ASA/USA Softball National Championships and participate on the National Council.  Our National Team coaches also promote softball through National Coaching Schools and training camps for youth coaches and athletes.

·        ASA/USA Softball provides people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels.  ASA/USA offers recreational, league, tournament and National Championship play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch and annually conducts over 100 National Championships.   

Since its founding, ASA/USA Softball has given millions of adults and children an opportunity to play softball.  A game that appeals to the masses, ASA/USA Softball has helped softball move forward through uncertain times, often against tremendous obstacles, to do what is best for the game and promote a healthy and safe environment.  ASA/USA Softball's legacy of service and commitment to softball is evident throughout its 80 years of existence and as we forge into the future, ASA/USA will continue to promote and better the sport through its efforts on the National and International level.        

About ASA
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 200,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.