By Teresa Gal
Once in a lifetime you get an opportunity to do something different and to be part of something historical. This opportunity has presented itself here in Huatulco and along the Oaxacan Riviera with the very first female softball league being formed along the coast thanks to José Ponce, President of the South-Pacific Coast Baseball League and the coach, trainer & manager of the UMAR Reds male baseball team. Next on his agenda is to start up a little league for children in the near future.
So, some may be wondering what’s softball? Well, to be brief, it’s a sport very similar to baseball with a few differences: the size of the ball, the amount of innings, the way to pitch and one most certainly shouldn’t be fooled by the word soft!
Practices have begun with many learning about the sport and its rules for the first time. The response of the participants has been incredible and the enthusiasm of each achievement escalates our spirits and eagerness to new heights. There are currently 26 women who are participating and the number keeps growing at each practice.
The goal to start the female league is to promote softball here in Huatulco and along the coast as an alternative sport for females. Softball is an important and fun sport and one of its most important elements is its social aspect. It’s a main form of entertainment and recreation in many countries including Mexico. The benefits of playing softball are that it encourages teamwork and strengthens the bonds of friendship which we have had the pleasure to experience firsthand.
The Mavericks are born!
Our first task was to decide upon a name for our team, which after many wonderful ideas we unanimously voted for Mavericks for its meaning: “someone who refuses to play by the rules. She isn’t scared to cross the line of conformity and her unorthodox tactics get results and is independent and not a follower”. Well, we most certainly plan to play by the rules, stealing bases being the exception and many of these courageous females have most certainly stepped out of their comfort zones by learning something new even though at times it may be scary, especially when a bat is flung your way or you take a softball unexpectedly and you realize at that moment that the word softball is a perfect example of an oxymoron. The next step was to select a mascot and with that we turned to a patriotic symbol however with a local theme suggested by Jesús López Aguilar responsible for the diffusion of Parque Nacional Huatulco, the Pandion haliaetus “osprey” asit’s known along the coast or in plain English, the sea eagle, a local and fellow coastal dweller.
For centuries eagles have been revered as majestic symbols of power and freedom and for our team this high-flying nobility of feathered society are an inspiration to aspire to as we plan to soar to new heights and have fun too. The team logo was then designed by recent Graduate from The Science of Communications Program Carlos Diaz Azcona.
As we are just starting out we have been raising funds by hosting events, having raffles, baking goodies to sell amongst other things. We hope we can continue to count on the support and participation of the community. If you know of anyone who may have old baseball gloves that they could donate we will put them to good use. Things can be dropped off at the Language Center at the UMAR University.
We would like to cordially invite spectators on Saturday March 16th , when Luis Fernando Flores Rey, Certified Trainer & Coach for both Softball & Baseball, who works toward improving the lives of adolescents through sports shall be providing the UMAR Mavericks with a Professional Softball clinic at 10:00a.m and at 12:30p.m the Umar Mavericks shall have a friendly game against his team the Wild Cats from Oaxaca City.
We shall keep The Eye informed of upcoming events and games so, please come and watch our games when we are well equipped and root root root for the home team. The UMAR Mavericks!
Teresa Gal is the coach of The Mavericks
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