Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Dream Denied: Making the Case for Olympic Softball

In 2005, the International Olympic Committee announced that the beloved sports of baseball and softball would no longer be played in the Summer Olympics.  This was a shocking blow to countless young girls whose dream it was to one day represent their country on the highest of all stages in the world of sports.  After only four official Olympic tournaments, softball was eliminated from the Games, the first sport to meet that fate since polo was gotten rid of in 1936.  So what was the reason for this sudden removal?  The answer could lie in the domination by the American teams, who won three out of the four tournaments, falling to Japan in 2008 at the Beijing Games.  To me, and most of the sport's millions of followers, this is not a good enough reason to eliminate such a well-loved game.  After all, this isn't the only event in which one country has dominated.  Take, for example, women's diving.  The Chinese have taken over many of these events in recent years, but the sport is in no danger of being eliminated from the Games.  If one-sidedness is to blame for the removal of the sport, it's a pretty sad argument,  not only from an American standpoint, but from the view of other country's competitors as well.  Imagine working your whole life to be an Olympic athlete, dreaming of one day being a part of the team that takes down the mighty American team, only to have this dream denied because no one believes this to be possible.  This was the sad reality for the countries around the world waiting for their shot at an Olympic gold medal.  There are so many reasons that softball should have been kept in the Olympics and should be readmitted in the 2016 Games, but perhaps the best reason is the players.  The players are what makes this game great.  They give it heart and they make it enjoyable for others.  Their dreams should not be denied.

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