The World Softball Championships are being held in Surrey, B.C. from July 15th to 24th, and I was moved up to the top tier of scorekeeping, scoring the international teams (as opposed to the minor teams, which usually are from Canada and the Western U.S., which I'd previously scored). So, in addition to being freaked out by my new role, I've been roaming parks, scoring ball games for practice and attending a few meetings.
The Championships began this past Friday. Softball enthusiasts are attempting to get softball (and I believe baseball as well) back into the Olympics, so this is a very important tournament to showcase the sport and prove that it is an international sport and not just a national one. There are 31 countries participating, so I think just by the turn-out that they've proved there is an enormous amount of interest in softball, which is also often called "fastpitch".
Here is a list of the countries:
Africa (2): Kenya, Uganda
Americas (10): Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Perus, United States, Venezuela and Canada (the host)
Asia (6): China, Chinese Taipei, India, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines
Europe (11): Austria, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Serbia and Switzerland
Oceania (2): Australia, New Zealand
So I thought I'd post some updates if I have time, because, as usual, when people and countries come together, there are very interesting stories to be shared.
- Yesterday my first game was cancelled because Pakistan's visas were lost in transit from Dubai, so they are stuck and cannot be let into the country without them. They're hoping to arrive on Monday, but we'll see.
- Kenya arrived with little equipment and only running shoes to wear. In their game with New Zealand, their pitcher was injured because they didn't have cleats, so after that game, New Zealand bought them all new cleats, and someone else bought them new equipment.
- There are about 10 teams who came with no place to stay who are housed in a high school nearby. They sleep on cots.
- Team Uganda played against one of our minor U18 teams, who introduced them to the SnapChat face-swap and they went nuts for it. They had a grand time giving themselves dog faces, face swaps, etc. and in return, Uganda taught the U18s how to dance.
It's been a great start to the tournament, and after today, the teams get pooled according to their placement in the first three days. Usually Japan walks away with gold, but we'll have to see. They almost lost to Venezuela last night, so one never knows.