BURRILLVILLE – He’s got players and volunteers, organizing and coaching experience, and his eyes set on the perfect field.
Jason Colbert wants young girls in Burrillville to once again have a recreational softball league of their own, and he’s on track to have everything in place for kids to take the field by next spring.
Colbert announced the “Burrillville Girls Softball Association” on June 1, a non-profit, volunteer organization to be governed by USA Softball of Rhode Island.
Within 24 hours, five people indicated that they were interested in helping out and becoming board members. Another 30 parents of younger children contacted Colbert to ask when and where they could play.
Burrillville once had a recreational league for girls softball, but the organization disbanded around five years ago after many of the volunteers resigned.
Colbert was a coach and organizer for a league in his previous community of North Providence, and he says his daughters had been playing the game since the age of six.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said.
The father says he was disheartened to learn that his girls wouldn’t be able to play in their hometown when he moved to Burrillville three and a half years ago.
“It brings the girls together it teaches them everything from self esteem, to achieving success,” Colbert said.
After watching one of his daughters play a game with her team at the middle school last month, he decided, “someone’s got to take the bull by the horns.”
So Colbert made plans to build a new league from the bottom up, starting with the venue.
“We have Hauser Field right here in Pascoag, which is a premiere layout for softball,” said Colbert. “No one uses it except for the men’s league.”
He plans to run 6u coach pitch; 8u instructional; 10u beginner fastpitch, and 12u divisions and said BGSA’s biggest objective is to launch the sport for girls ages 6,7,8 and 9.
But he’s open to creating divisions for older girls as well, depending on the level of interest. Organizing under the USA Softball banner, he notes, will allow those who sign up to play against teams from surrounding communities, even if there’s not enough players to form a full league of their age group in Burrillville.
“Any girls who want to play should just sign up,” Colbert said.
And intertown games, he notes, will bring in guests to area businesses.
“I think it will help our community to grow,” he said.
Plus, he notes, USA Softball is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which mean’s every dollar generated goes directly back into improving and furthering the sport.
The organizer said he plans to keep the league affordable for everyone, and to start registrations in the beginning of January.
But first, he’ll need to buy equipment, ready the field, find more volunteers for coaching positions, and seek out sponsors for the teams.
Currently, he working on launching a web page for online registrations, as well as setting up a space where players can sign up in person.
“I want to have it set up so this thing can go many, many years,” Colbert said. “It’s an American pastime.”
Those interested in helping out should contact the league at Burrillvillegirlssoftball@yahoo.com.