UGANDA BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION
Surrey B.C., Canada – April 8, 2013: South Surrey White Rock Minor Softball Association (“SSWRMSA”) is pleased to announce that the 2013 Opening Day celebrations held on Saturday April 6th at Sunnyside Park in Surrey B.C. were a tremendous success.
The festivities were attended by 416 players representing 39 teams, 65 volunteer coaches and 16 volunteer executives. Special guests that were in attendance to help welcome the 2013 season included Gordon Hogg, provincial MLA representing Surrey-White Rock, City of White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin, City of Surrey Councillor Mary Martin, Canadian Open Fastpitch Society’s Brittney Prentice, Uganda Baseball and Softball Association’s Ruth Hoffman and “Mr. O Canada” Mark Donnelly.
All of the dignitaries addressed the enthusiastic crowd with comments about the importance of organized sport to help promote good health and well-being within our community.
Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg, a former ball player and Little League coach stated, “It was great to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the parents, volunteers and young players. Despite the cold weather the warmth of community was felt by all. I firmly believe that through the power of sport we can promote health and well-being within our local community and throughout the world.”
White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin, a father of two former softball players directed his comments to the eager young players, parents and volunteer coaches. Mayor Baldwin explained that “participation in softball is a life changing experience, not only for the players but for their entire family. Players and their family members will experience a true sense of teamwork and community involvement. Young athletes will stay active, develop skills, build self-confidence and form friendships that will last a lifetime.”
City of Surrey Councillor Mary Martin, a proud parent of a former softball player commented, “Sports activity is so very important to our youth as it provides for friendships made, team spirit and connectivity in the community. I truly appreciate the efforts of the organizers, sponsors, parents and most importantly the athletes who through participation will make this an incredible season of softball.”
Canadian Open Fastpitch Society’s Brittney Prentice announced to the crowd that the 2013 Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship will be held from July 12 - 22, 2013, in Surrey, British Columbia and will promote the development of the sport of fastpitch by helping young female athletes reach for their personal best. Hundreds of college and university scouts are invited to tournament. “By participating in this tournament players will be provided an excellent opportunity to be considered for scholarships to some of the top schools in North America.” stated Prentice.
Mark Donnelly who frequently sings the national anthems at Vancouver Canuck hockey games kicked-off an exciting day of softball action with his inspiring rendition of our Canadian national anthem supported by hundreds of youth softball players.
Following the opening ceremonies there were 17 exciting softball games played throughout the day to start the season which runs through mid-June.
SSWRMSA is committed to maintaining a strong and viable association. We are focused on building a strong base of younger players and coaches through our first class coach and player development programs. “We are pleased to report that player registration for 2013 has increased compared to the 2012 season. The largest increase in player registration occurred in our very successful Learn-to-Play program for players under 6 years old. For the 2013 season, 48 percent of our players are between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. The future is bright for youth softball in South Surrey White Rock” said SSWRMSA President David Harris.
SSWRMSA PARTNERS WITH THE UGANDA BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION
SSWRMSA is pleased to announce a partnership with Ruth Hoffman and the Uganda Baseball and Softball Association in sponsoring two female softball coaches to come to Canada in January 2014 for 8 months and will train with our association coaches for the entire softball season. Roth Hoffman commented, “It’s truly a community effort that makes South Surrey White Rock so successful. These women will return to Uganda full of inspiration to make their program so much better.”
Ruth Hoffman is the brainchild behind the heartwarming initiative known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ that resulted in the Langley Little League baseball team representing Canada travelling to Uganda to play a series with Uganda’s Little League team after the Uganda team was denied visas to enter the U.S. to compete in the 2011 Little League World Series.
In an address to the hundreds in attendance, Ruth Hoffman stated, “In the summer of 2011 I saw an article in the newspaper about the Little League team in Uganda, Africa. This team of 11 and 12 year olds had won the right to play in the Little League World Series in the United States. It would have been the first time in history that an African team would play in the World Series. Their first game would have been against the Canadian team from Langley. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come. There were problems with their papers. I can’t imagine how disappointed they must have felt. So, together with the Canadian Langley team and Right To Play we created the Pearl of Africa Series. We called this The Pearl of Africa Series because Uganda is known as the Pearl of Africa.”
Hoffman continued, “We raised money to take the Langley team to Uganda to play the game that should have been played at the World Series. The Uganda team won 2 – 1 but we were all winners. The players from both teams toured the country together playing other teams and becoming the best of friends. In addition, we brought all kinds of donated equipment from boys and girls, like you from across the country. We raised money to support the Uganda Baseball and Softball Association to build sports fields and to provide better education for the kids.
I am here today to announce that we are continuing this effort with the Pearl of Africa Series Part II. This time we will partner with the Commonwealth Games of Canada and the Roberto Clemente Foundation in the United States.
The major goal this time is to bring coaches from Uganda to Canada to learn how baseball and softball programs are run here. When these coaches return to Uganda they will be able to teach all of the other coaches what they learned so that the kids in Uganda will be able to enjoy the game even more and become better players.
I am thrilled today to share with you the news that the South Surrey White Rock Minor Softball Association will be the softball host for the Pearl of Africa Series Part II.”
David Harris commented, “Ruth Hoffman approached our association with this initiative and our executives voted unanimously to support this very worthy endeavour. We believe that SOFTBALL can make a POSITIVE difference in the lives of young people and we are proud to help bring this wonderful gift of sport to young women in Uganda. This initiative mirrors our association’s belief that better training for our coaches will result in better trained athletes. We want our athletes to reach their full potential and have a lifelong love of the sport.”
ABOUT SOUTH SURREY WHITE ROCK MINOR SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION South Surrey White Rock Minor Softball Association was established as a registered not‑for‑profit society in June 1994 and played our first season in 1995. The expressed purpose of the Society is to provide a healthy environment for the members of the Society to learn the fundamentals of the game of softball, and to foster the growth of honesty, integrity, self‑esteem, teamwork, and the belief of service to our community. SSWRMSA offers programs for boys and girls ages 5 to 22 years old.
On Behalf of South Surrey White Rock Minor Softball Association
Director of Communication
For more information regarding SSWRMSA and player registration please visit our website at www.sswrmsa.ca