10 years! Just can’t believe it! A dream that was shared by everyone, a sport that was loved by everyone, a tournament that became the spirit of sportsmanship and a bond that developed more friends that I could have ever imagined. Amit Joshi Memorial Softball Tournament or now rebranded and known as ASL (AAY’s Softball League) has now become a respectable name in all of India. The players who played the first year would remember how quickly this idea was materialised. An emotional attempt to bring friends together and contribute to the sport that made us who we are today. More than 1000 players have played this tournament and all of them have only good memories of these ten years. I remember each and every year how it evolved and how we made true every dream that we had seen as a young player.
“I was such a dangerous hitter, I even got intentional walks in batting practice”
This was probably the first quotes that I read as an amateur. Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron were automatically on the list of admired people (legends to precise) and their posters were the first to look for, before any match. Reading their records and watching the MLB matches was a favourite pass time during the 90’s. Even when, kids around me were glued to only cricket, I also found my moment of excitement in the homers of Barry Bond or the amazing saves by Derek Jeter (and even the amazing dunks of Michael Jordan + the legendary game of Sachin Tendulkar + the victory lap of Michael Schumacher, etc….). I always imagined myself walking into the batter deck with the pitcher perspiring just by the sight of me. I believed every time I walk in, the pitcher should atleast think about the above phrase once! Well, I even aimed for making this dream come true and strived for perfection as well.
110 officially playing countries and countless sports enthusiasts across the globe, all contributing to the sport that’s fondly called Softball. Most of them know that the name Softball has a historic origin and the ball is no longer “Soft” as it used to be. Infact, it’s changed colors too over the decade. Year 1887 till today, there must have been countless brain hours put into strategies for winning matches and more importantly getting the perfect batting line for the match. Now why focus only on batting line up when there are many things to seek in a match? What difference will focusing on a batting line up make? Fitness, practice and passion for the game is what is required to win a match, isn’t it? Well, even if the last point is true it’s still enough to win championships.
Ground reality is that a good batting line up can save a difficult match for a weaker team – kind of like brains over muscle. Batting line in Softball/Baseball is a little game in itself. There are numerous drills for fielding but very few coaches understand and leverage the power of a good batting line up. We make sure to give our best in every match and even have combination drills for fielding to get more runners out in a single ball play. A good team differentiates itself from the rest by going a step further and thinks about its batting line up as well. It’s a part of the game strategy that allows you to work as a coordinated unit, each performing its duties for the winning goal. In a team game, if everyone is moving in the same direction, there is a higher probability that your team would perform better than its competition.