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History of Softball (DOC)

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					The history of softball is by far the clearest of all documented sports
related histories. Meaning that football history, soccer and golf among
other sports all have much more convoluted beginnings compared to
softball history. It is a relatively young sport that was originated in
Chicago in 1887. The story has it that after receiving the score of the
Yale and Harvard football game that a group of young men jumped up and
one young man threw a boxing glove at another who proceeded to hit it
with a pole. George Hancock who is often credited with creating the game
then drew out a diamond on the floor and took the handle of a broom to
use as a stick. They tied more boxing gloves up to be used as an
oversized ball. Suffice that it is odd to say that softball history
originated indoors and was developed by men. The original game was
loosely based on a shortened version of baseball with a smaller field and
a larger ball. Shortly after this Mr. Hancock painted permanent lines in
the gymnasium, prepared some new rules and coined the sport indoor
baseball. Softball history's popularity grew rapidly and Hancock then
formed a publication on all of the rules of the game. Canada adopted the
sport as it was easy to play indoors. Then the game took a turn on the
outdoor fields in the summer and was called indoors/outdoors. Different
teams and leagues began to grow all over the northeast. Chicago while
credited with the development saw teams popping up in Minnesota, New York
and Massachusetts. Then the great gold rush took easterners west to gain
riches and along with them they brought there sports, which helped
develop the west coasts teams. Women's softball was also developed in
Chicago and West Division High was the first to have a team in 1895. They
played mostly indoors and were not initially recognized as comparable to
the men. It took the women's leagues much longer to gain credibility and
the real crossover was the growth in popularity of baseball. As baseball
became much more popular the male players shifted to it while the women
began to make softball there own. Now a day's both men and women of all
ages can enjoy the sport. Throughout the 1900's leagues and tournaments
began to pop up everywhere. The National Championship was first played in
Chicago in 1933 and it included both male and female competitors. The
sixties and seventies saw professional leagues come and go for women. The
slow pitch game evolved on the international level with the Softball
World Championships in 1965. It ultimately set the platform for the
Olympics which greatly improved softball history. The game began to shift
as players became much bigger and stronger and less pitching and defense
were incorporated. The officials and high ranking decision makers of the
leagues around the world began to make a shift to fast pitch softball
beginning around the 1980's and 90's. At first the changes were met with
much resistance but the game has since embraced the changes. Fast pitch
has altered the appearance of the game dramatically. The sport is much
more a game of speed and defense rather than offense and power and it has
also produced much more media coverage and growth in the sport than ever.
The game of softball is appealing to so many levels of our society. Young
men and women can enjoy the game on either a social or competitive level.
The thousands of softball leagues around the country provide for a great
social backdrop. College teams flourish and the international scene is
more popular than ever. Softball history has come such a long way in the
last hundred years from poles and boxing gloves to international
notoriety, so goes the history of softball.

				
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