First published in the Lethbridge Herald Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
The Lethbridge 2020 Alberta Summer Games Society continue their plan to host the Games on July 23 to 26. Updates will be posted on their Facebook page and website as they monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19.
Softball is our feature sport this week. Youth programming is offered by the Lethbridge Minor Softball Association (LMSA) for both softball and fastball.
The sport is making a comeback in Lethbridge in large part due to a group of dedicated volunteers that work behind the scenes to provide fun, age and ability appropriate programs for all children.
One of those volunteers is Jennifer Drader who won the 2016 Lethbridge Sport Council Volunteer in Sport award. As President and volunteer coach of LMSA Drader rebuilt the organization executive, created a new website, streamlined the registration process, and created new coach manuals which include practice plans.
LMSA has seven male and female divisions of two-year increments from age five to nineteen. In addition to their house league they also have competitive provincial teams for athletes who want to challenge themselves further.
Girls competing in the Alberta Games are aged 13-16. One team per zone will compete in an 8-team round-robin tournament. Softball will take place at Softball Valley. The round-robin games start Friday, July 24 and the medal games will take place on Sunday, July 26.
The Alberta Games Facebook page is a great source to keep up with Zone Playoffs and Sport Highlights. They describe softball as a variation of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field. It was invented in 1887 as an indoor game. The name softball was given to the game in 1926.
Despite the name, the ball used in softball is not very soft. It is about 12 inches (30.5 cm) in circumference which is 3 inches (8 cm) larger than a baseball. Two major differences are that the ball must be pitched underhand and that the game is played in seven innings instead of nine.
To find out more about local sport organizations visit www.lethbridgesportcouncil.ca/sport-directory
To sign up to be a Games volunteer visit www.albertasummergames.ca