|Softball is a way of
life for thousands of people each year, and their choice for softball is
the Amateur Softball Association, the national governing body of softball
in the United States.
Not every team can come home with a national championship, but the ASA softball program gives people an opportunity to have clean, competitive fun playing slow pitch, fast pitch or modified pitch, at levels ranging from district to national championship.
Since its founding in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association has given the sport direction and strived to have the best program possible for the millions of people who play amateur softball each summer. Many of them started playing in the ASA's Junior Olympic program before moving up to the adult divisions of play.
ASA has kept its hand on the pulse of the softball community in America and, when needed, has added divisions of championship play to meet the interests of those involved in the ASA program.
Today, ASA has more than 90 national championships, ranging from 10-under fast pitch to 75-over slow pitch. Annually more than 40,000 players participate in ASA National Championship Finals and they are assured of playing some of the best teams in America.
The tournaments they participate in are run by well-qualified tournament staffs who care about the players participating in their national tournament and want them to enjoy playing in an ASA adult national championship.
Jess Maxey of Yukon, OK, had this to say a few years ago after his team played in an ASA national championship.
"We played in a lot of tournaments and won most of them, even so-called world tournaments, but it wasn't until we got to the ASA nationals that we realized we had distinguished ourselves by earning a spot among the best. It was exciting to compete against some of the legendary teams in the sport and realize that they had also earned the right to be there. There is nothing like an ASA national. It's a tournament that means something and it creates memories that will stay with you for a lifetime."
It's the substance behind ASA national championships that make them the best of the rest and teams realize they have accomplished something they can be proud of for a lifetime.
Besides well-run national championships, the participants are assured of nothing but the best in umpiring. Each year more than 40,000 umpires register with one of the more than 84 ASA local associations. The ASA annually hosts local, state and national umpire clinics, which cover the nation and bring together the best instruction available in the sport to all 15 regions of the ASA. The ASA strives to make its umpires the best they can be, and ASA umpires are known for their professionalism and expertise.
Besides playing in national championships, the ASA program offers players, if they are selected to one of the USA National Teams, an opportunity to compete in the Olympics, Pan American Games and ISF World Championships, as well as other national and international events.
As the NGB of softball, the ASA is the only softball organization that can offer players the opportunity to play in these prestigious events, which are often held throughout the world. The 2004 Olympics, for example, will be held in Greece, and USA Softball is responsible for selecting and training the USA Olympic Team for the 2008 Games. In the past three Olympics, 1996, 2000, and 2004 the USA National Team has won the gold medal.
To help players improve their skills for not only these prestigious events but for national championships as well, the ASA offers clinics, camps, publications and videos, all designed to help people become better playing America's summer pastime - softball.