Middle school softball cancelled due to lack of interest

The softball field remains vacated. This is the first year in the past ten that Archer has not fielded a middle school softball team.

Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

The softball field remains vacated. This is the first year in the past ten that Archer has not fielded a middle school softball team.

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With the spring athletics season approaching, students clamored to sign up for middle school track and field and tennis, but the sign-up sheet for middle school softball remained nearly empty.

After having only four girls sign up to play middle school softball for the 2017 season, the Fitness Department ultimately made the decision to cancel the team for this season.

“I sent out multiple emails to the entire middle school trying to get more players, but we still came up short,” Middle School Sports Director Kristen Benjamin wrote in an email. “We would need around 14 girls to field a full team.”

The news was met with shock and disappointment from the girls who were interested in playing.

“I love playing sports, so I was looking forward to learning a new sport and playing it well,” Sally Song ’21, who had planned on trying softball for the first time, said.

Ava Thompson ’21, who has been playing since she was seven, cited the sense of community and family that comes with playing sports.

“[I’ll] miss the team feeling,” she said. “I love having my friends with me. I just meet so many people from other grades.”

This issue is not limited to Archer — of the 20 schools that participate in the Pacific Basin League, only three are fielding middle school softball teams this year.

“Over the last couple of years, the teams have been fewer each season,” Benjamin said. “I think this might be caused by a space issue in West LA, since there are not many softball fields and programs to create interest in younger athletes.”

However, Thompson is unwilling to give up on the possibility of a team.

“I’m trying to start a softball X-block. We’re hoping to build up numbers for a team. If we get enough people, it could happen,” Thompson said.

Even if this approach doesn’t work, Benjamin expressed hope for the future of middle school softball.

“The numbers in sports definitely ebb and flow over the years,” she said. “Hopefully next year we will be able to rally enough girls to form a team.”

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