After an engaging and lively brainstorming session, last Saturday with some of the Premier team representatives, the Softball Leinster Committee convened last night to discuss the benefits, objectives and potential difficulties we might encounter with a separate Premier League. We are currently favouring splitting the division into its own league for some of the reasons listed below.
Our objective for splitting off the Premier division into its own league is twofold. Firstly, we feel it will help the Prem field 8 teams in their division/league. For the past two years, we have been unable to find 8 teams willing to play in Prem. A second reason for splitting the Premier into their own league is that we believe it will raise the level of play in Prem.
This separation will also give our Prem teams the opportunity to conform and prepare their teams against our ESF counterparts who can now put together super teams in what was the Euro club championships. It will also allow SL to revert the Premier League back to standard 5 guys and 5 girls, also a co-ed standard that exists throughout the ESF.
We hope that the Prem teams recruiting 1st and 2nd division players will engage our membership, giving players a chance to play at the highest level while retaining the fun and casual nature of the lower divisions. One of the best aspects of the All-Star Team (A.K.A. the Random Rhinos) last year was the opportunity for players from different teams and clubs to play alongside each other. It is our hope that this inter-club sportsmanship will continue with both Prem teams as well as 1st and 2nd division teams as players get the opportunity to play on more than one team and more than once a week.
The SL committee is not oblivious to the potential problems that may arise from this split. We acknowledge that seasoned veteran players might be thrown into lower division teams, greatly improving 1st and 2nd divisions. Some of the best players in Leinster already play in the 1st and 2nd division – there are no Prem players, just players who play in Prem. Will there be teams who abuse this influx of players? Will clubs stop recruiting new players, expecting players to play twice a week? Not likely. We don’t expect this attitude to be the rule, rather the exception.
We hope that this change will form new teams; clubs with one and two teams will stretch their roster and create a second or a third team in their club. Teams that sit their newer players to get a ringer in the lineup will find that they will not retain those new players for long. Regardless of the formation of a separate Prem league, the primary imperative for our sport is recruiting. We hope to do that through training sessions and an active promotional marketing campaign. We need teams to update their contact info with Softball Leinster and do your best to help your club recruit. Recruiting starts with training and SL will be running some league wide training sessions for all the teams in Leinster invited.
We’ve shared our thoughts with you here about the Prem League here and the specifics will be issued with our byelaws later in February. If you have thoughts or concerns that we may have not yet addressed, or other ideas not mentioned here, we will welcome any of those comments through formal communication by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This isn’t to say that ideas or concerns raised on social media in public forums will be ignored, but those forums can be limited with only a handful of individuals voicing their concerns and not all committee members will necessarily read your post.
Finally, please remember that nothing is finalised, and even if we go ahead with this change this year, we can assess the success of the Prem League at the end of the season and always course correct next year.