By J.D. Wood, Tourism Manager
When people around the country look at College Station these days, they see us not only as the home of Texas A&M University but as a great destination for youth sports events. We serve as host for many state and regional athletic events each year, but sometimes the stakes are the highest possible.
Yes, I’m talking about a national championship.
Starting Monday at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex and Stephen C. Beachy Central Park, College Station is playing host to the American Softball Association’s USA 16-and-Under Class A National Championship. We’ll have 92 teams from 24 states in town battling to wear the crown as the best 16-and-under fast-pitch softball team in the country.
Teams will travel from all over the U.S and will be arriving in College Station as early as Saturday to prepare for Sunday’s opening ceremonies at Wolf Pen Creek. Tournament play starts Monday and will continue daily until the championship game on Sunday, Aug. 7.
The 15 teams from Texas illustrate the strength the sport has in our state. Other teams are coming from as far west as Lake Stevens, Wash. (2,199 miles); as far north as Southfield, Mich. (1,290 miles); and as far East as Port St. Lucie, Fla. (1,169 miles).
For more information and tournament brackets, visit cstx.gov/tournaments.
J.D. Wood has been the City of College Station’s tourism manager since 2014 after serving as lead athletic supervisor for a year. His extensive experience in sports and tourism includes stints with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau and Texas A&M Athletics. A native of Onalaska, J.D. earned both his bachelor’s (2009) and master’s (2010) degrees in sports management from Texas A&M.
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When I first heard that quote, it made me smile. But it wasn’t until years later that I fully appreciated what the Olympic great was talking about.
When I reflect on my eight years of participating in ASA softball, the memories turn black and white and thoughts of wins and losses dim. Games lost somehow become games won.
At most big-time softball tournaments, the opening ceremony includes little more than a series of boring, rah-rah speeches near home plate. If you’re expecting that at Thursday morning’s opening ceremonies for the ASA Girls Fast Pitch 14U “A” Southern National Championship, think again. The City of College Station Parks and Recreation staff has devised a unique twist.
Players and coaches representing 40 teams from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma will be paraded into the Adamson Lagoon pool deck at 9:30 a.m. for team photos. After some brief remarks from city and tournament officials, Creek View Elementary music teacher Kelly Herriage will sing the national anthem.
Then things will get fun.