THE Northern District Softball Association, NDSA, is encouraging school-aged children to attend its come and try day on Saturday, September 11, from 10am to see if softball is the sport for them.
The association offers teams for players of all ages, from three-year-olds who begin playing tee-ball, all the way through to the masters level of softball.
Association president Chaminda Fernando said the come and try day was a perfect opportunity for aspiring softball players to see for themselves what the sport was all about.
“We just want to grow the game, especially locally and let everyone know to come and enjoy the day,” Mr Fernando said.
“The kids will get to see a lot of teams. We usually have six teams [per season], it just depends on the year.”
Mr Fernando said the under 16 and 18 competitions boasted ‘good quality players’ and the under 14s offered a competition that instilled community values and making friendships above winning.
“That’s the goal for us, to get the young kids to come to the park, and see what it is, especially for the girls,” he said.
“It’s a very good team sport for girls coming from every background.”
Mr Fernando said softball was a sport the whole family could enjoy.
When his daughters began playing softball, he joined the club with minimal knowledge of the sport but said he had come to enjoy it so much that he became club president.
“When my daughters started playing, I had little knowledge on softball,” he said.
“So, the kids started playing and building friendships and the parents were behind the diamonds building friendships too and learning the sport.”
Mr Fernando said another appealing aspect of softball was the achieveability of making a state, or even national team due to the smaller numbers of players compared to other sports like football and cricket.
“Playing for your state and playing for your country is a reachable thing… and currently we are working with School Sports Victoria to select players to send them to trials,” Mr Fernando said.
Players who are selected to play as part of School Sports Victoria can go onto playing both state and national tournaments.
NDSA alone has had 14 state representatives – seven girls and seven boys – and this year its women’s side won the state championship in the women’s plate.
Mill Park Recreational Reserve will host the softball under 14 state champions on August 28 and 29, from 8am to 6pm, should Victoria be out of lockdown and restrictions allow for sports.
NDSA is looking forward to hosting the under 14 state championship as last year, it was postponed along with nationals due to COVID-19.
There are currently 15 associations affiliated with Softball Victoria, with more than 65 clubs covering all corners of the state.