Sunday, February 16, 2014

Message from Bridgewater Girls Softball League

My name is Willis Griffiths and I am the President of BGSL for the 2014 Season. I am sending this letter out to all past, present and future girls who have a love of Softball.

Since moving to the new fields on Crescent Street we have seen a lot of changes, both good and bad. First let me start off with the good things that have happened. The fields have been upgraded to clay infields. This upgrade has helped in many areas. The clay is much more player friendly. When running the bases and sliding, the girls do not have to worry about ankle or lower leg injuries as in the past with the stone dust. Infielders get a real feel of how to play the ball when it is hit. The bases have been anchored in so they don’t keep popping up. The fields have better drainage from the rain storms thanks to Charlie Simonds and a few volunteers. The dugouts have a commercial grade tarp to protect the girls from the sun and rain. Last year they were put up as a temporary fix. We are working on a frame to be on top of the dugout so we can put them on and off without damaging them. These tarps were purchased by the Bridgewater Police Union. The parking lot has been organized better for parking. The snack shack had a new cook and from all the feedback she cooks a great burger and the salads were a hit for the healthy minded. We had our annual June Jam again and our girls made their presence known in every game. We even had the local television station down to film and televise the event. Last but not least, we were given a fabulous gift from the Victoria Snellgrove Foundation. Next to the snack shack is a beautiful playground that families can bring their children down to play on. There were many volunteers and donations from some great people and businesses for the completion of this project. So if you have not been down to the Fields lately, I invite you to come back and take a look.

The bad things that have taken place have been the low number of girls that are participating in this great program. When we left Legion Field to play on our own fields, we had almost 600 girls in the program. Last year we were down to just under 250 girls. This is a big cut in numbers in five years. In one of our divisions we had to join with East Bridgewater so they could have enough teams to play. I have heard several reasons for the drop in participation ranging from cost, scheduling and lack of programs to develop the girls. Since October, the new Board of Directors has been working diligently to come up with and implement positive changes to improve our League and bring back girls.

This year we have set goals and are on track to come out with a Player Development Program. The T-ball and Rookies will be given instructional time during their practices to help the girls develop skills to carry with them to the upper levels of play. These instructional periods will have a Big Sister as well as seasoned coaches to help instruct the girls in pitching, catching, throwing and hitting. We will also have instruction on how to understand the game and how to play and be competitive. We are also discussing out maybe even having the instructional periods with the Minors for the skilled positions. The two new Commissioners Lynn Berman and Andrew Barnicoat are very excited about this and are very determined in getting this program going. We are also working on alleviating conflicting scheduling issues between Softball and Soccer for girls who participate in both programs.

I am asking that those that left BGSL to come back and those that are on the fence to give us another chance. The program can only continue with players. I fear that if we lose anymore girls that BGSL will be forced to close up.

Registration for this season is still open and we start forming teams in March. The season will kick off in April and end the middle of June. The reason for the season ending in the middle of June is because of all the school activities taking place the last weeks of the month and our annual Tournament.

This year we will be fund raising to help reduce the cost of participation and make continued improvements to the fields. These fund raisers include school dances for the 5/6 graders, car washes and an adult comedy night. We will also be having our annual spaghetti dinner in June, which has been a good time for the entire family.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email your Divisional Commissioner first. They are your primary point of contact and in many cases can handle your issues. Please remember they are volunteers and have stepped up to do their best. If there are issues they cannot handle, they will bring them to the Board of Directors. If you believe that it is a serious matter, you can always attend our monthly BOD meeting to discuss it. Our BOD meetings are open to all.

Thank you for your time and I hope to see you at the Fields.

Will Griffiths,
BGSL President

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