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Cathi Aradi

Help Educate the IOC on Softball's Merits

As you are probably aware, the International Olympic Committee's Program Commission is recommending that softball be dropped from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Apparently, the program commission does not believe that softball is a world-wide sport. It knows that it's popular in the United States (hence, two gold medals in two Olympics), but felt it was not global enough.

In an effort to combat this initiative that will be voted on in November, there are several directives that are being suggested at this time.

The first is that softball fans voice their support of the game by doing the following:

1. Go to http://www.olympic.org

2. Click on "Public Suggestions," which is at the bottom right-hand corner of the front page.

3. It will ask for some personal information.

4. Choose "Games as a Whole," then "Summer Games," followed by "Competition Program."

4. It will ask you to write a title, something like

"Keep Softball in Olympic Games"

5. It will ask for your idea. This should be something along the lines of:

"Softball is a world-wide sport that should be kept in the Olympics. Not only is it popular world-wide, but it is a great sport for television."

The key point to make is that softball is a global sport, not just popular in the United States.

6. Then it will ask "How do you see it working." You can use this space to sell your point, mentioning one or more of these factors:

(1) Strong women's sport in a time when IOC should be promoting women's sports; (2) rest of world is catching up to U.S. and competition is very competitive; (3) China is very competitive and probably will be medalist; (4) television likes to televise softball and gets great ratings; (5) many players from within Asia, Oceania and Europe are able to obtain college education through their softball-playing abilities.

7. Then follow the prompts to send your email.

Secondly, if you have any contacts with European-based equipment suppliers, please contact them to aggressively lobby the IOC and European national Olympic committees.

Thirdly, coaches with foreign players need to educate their players on the problem and have them lobby their country's National Olympic Committee.

And, lastly, if you have any contacts with NBC, the network that will televise the 2008 Olympics, please voice your concern with them. The ISF recently made numerous rules changes to make the game more television-friendly and more exciting to the general public.