Updated: Sep 25, 2020
So…you enter the E tournament with your E team. It’s a beautiful day, you’re excited to play, bought your 2 wristbands to hit homeruns in the E tournament, go out to play catch and stretch, look across the field and what do you see? UPPER PLAYERS!! I have been on both sides of this so let’s break it down.
I know, you think I am just picking on E/rec, but point of fact it is happening at all levels and across all sanctions but is absolutely most prevalent at the E/rec level so hear me out. No one is picking on you, hell I am one of you by rule and skill so I do know and can relate to all sides
There are a few different ways to handle this no matter if you play, Women's, Men's, Coed:
1. If it is a charitable fundraiser to help those who are less fortunate than we are, shut up and play ball. If you give a shit about winning over enjoying a day of ball win or lose to help the cause…quit reading this, go away. You will never get it and need your priorities aligned
2. PLAY THE GAME! Test yourself; you get better by playing better. You cannot and will not win every game, especially if you think you have already lost. Softball is a crazy game and crazy things happen including “upsets” unbelievably.
There are ways to go about it during the game, for example if you think, the upper players are the difference…take them out of the equation. Walk them, hit away from them, make the rest of the team beat you. Up to 3 are allowed to play, doesn’t mean they get to do anything. Waste their time and make them not want to play down.
3. If you feel there is not something right or someone is too highly rated, there are more than 3 upper players…ask. There is nothing to be ashamed of ensuring your team gets a fair matchup within the rules. If the tournament organizer is worth a shit and doesn’t only care about putting $$ into his/her pocket (this can be iffy) than they will be diligent and verify all things are equal and fair competition wise
I will say though, 9 times out of 10 players know what and where they can and cannot play but again it never hurts to simply ask.
4. Fight fire with fire, as stated you are within the rules allowed up to 3 players from the next highest classification, go ask them to play. If their team isn’t playing that weekend a lot of players still enjoy getting out there and who knows, they may want to play with your team going forward.
If you want to be and think every time you play you must strive to win at all costs here’s the only advice you need to do so:
Build a team that skill wise is as good as a team that plays the next highest classification but within guidelines is rated to play in the division you are currently in. if you want to be the best you have to build and execute as the best
5. Remember you are a customer and you are paying for a service to be provided to you. If you do not feel you have received it…STOP PAYING FOR IT. Pay by check or electronic form where funds can be withheld, if you pay cash it’s gone forever so protect yourself/team financially. Stop payment, retract the transfer if you feel you were not provided what you expected competition wise. If it is before and you see a team list and something does not add up, drop out. You owe no one anything, and if he/she runs multiple events DO NOT KEEP PLAYING IN THEIR EVENTS.
There are other places to play, other teams to play so shame on them the first time but if you keep playing and handing over your money like a lemming…shame on you.
Now let’s look at this from a common sense standpoint:
Just because you can play, does it mean you should? I will leave that one up to individual interpretation but for me the answer is not always yes. You get upset when “better” players show up, yet some cannot wait to play in F state to “warm up” for E state. See how stupid it is/looks yet? How hypocritical it makes you? Hope so…
I am currently a D rated player who played C state, I know C rated players who played D state and even a couple E rated players who played either C or D…does that make sense at the surface? Nope, but again current system in place allows for it and doesn‘t do much to correct actual misgivings or abuse so let’s fix it together.
Most all tournaments we play in are not officially sanctioned, that being said doesn’t mean all normal rules apply. You wanna play an E tournament but don’t play it by actual E ground rules but want to have rosters enforced? See where I’m going? Cannot have it both ways…would playing by official rules/sanctioning help clean up a lot of these issues I have covered? Damn right it would so maybe that’s the solution?
Maybe it’s as simple as all tournaments are Open division like they were, find your best group and come play mine and may the best team win...that simple, right?
Should Nebraska USA softball enforce national bumps at the state level like most every other neighboring state does rather than just sit back and let National results dictate and often times be the only way players are identified in the first place….ABSOLUTELY! This would help trickle down and make things perfectly clear so there’s no confusion like we currently have. The system needs to work for us not just ensure the funds clear.
Did I mention if tournaments always have issues you should not keep paying to play in them? There’s always somewhere else to play or even another sanction. It might be a little further to drive or even closer and hell might even payout…but there’s always other and often times better options. And those options will see there is a demand and begin to run events in the area/closer. They already are and I’m glad to see it.
Agree or disagree with everything I typed above but there is 1 thing we all need to agree on…the system is broken. By players and officials/tournament organizers and sanctions. There are proper channel other than my post, Facebook or whatever else cool the kids social media on nowadays. Let’s all work together to effect real and sustainable change. Attend meetings, call/email district commissioners, state officials, tournament organizers, your player representatives and ask questions and politely demand real answers because it is literally their compensated job to do so. If they won’t get involved and change the system ourselves through proper channels and methods. Be a solution and not a bigger problem.
I promise you real change will happen and is happening, maybe not overnight but the pyramids in Egypt took awhile to build too.