BSUK supports Architects Softball League
Tue 22 Sep 2015
Sometimes there are big things right under your nose but it can take some time to know that they’re there. This is definitely the case with the London Architects and Engineers Softball League, recently discovered by BaseballSoftballUK staff.
Since unearthing it, BSUK has been busy identifying and supporting the many teams from the league that take to Regent’s Park in droves throughout the summer months.
The league (if we can call it that) has been running for some time, and the number of teams playing has been growing by the week, now totalling more than 50. But there is very little in the way of central organisation.
The architecture and engineering firms involved arrange their own fixtures, with some teams playing up to 20 times per summer. Once fixtures are set up, the teams find space in one of the parks, lay down bases and get things going. The players are very enthusiastic and committed, and the social aspect of slowpitch softball is clear for all to see.
Since becoming aware of the league, BSUK has been busy offering assistance to the players and teams in a variety of ways, including support with the ongoing use of Regents Park and other venues. The offer of equipment has been well received, as have player clinics staged to offer tips and pointers on all aspects of play.
BSUK staff have also organised extra fixtures for teams to play during August and September, and the plan is to support the teams further through the winter months before games recommence next season.
Feedback from players and teams in the Architects and Engineers League has been very positive:
“Thanks so much for hosting the Sheppard Robson crew this evening at the skills clinic -- you taught us loads and we'll spread the word for next time. Great fun!”
-- Chris Dalton -- Sheppard Robson
“I just wanted to send you an email to say thanks for last week. You were really constructive and your advice was invaluable. We absolutely killed it last night, 71-20. The guys who didn’t come last week were a bit shocked by the improvement! Anyway, whether you guys have magic softball skills-sharing talents or you just gave us the little bit of confidence we were lacking, it worked! Good luck with any future sessions -- we’ll be recommending them to everyone (we have already played!).”
There is a long history of corporate softball leagues coming and going in London since the 1980s, and while some of these leagues have joined the softball mainstream by affiliating to the former London Softball Federation and eventually the BSF, other leagues have always kept well under the radar.
In addition to the newly-discovered Architects and Engineers League, there is a massive Charities League in London that has occasional help from the BSF and BSUK, and there are reported to still be remnants of what was once a large Surveyors League, which was active in seeding co-ed slowpitch softball around the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Other leagues known to have existed at one time or another include a Design League (which eventually merged with the London Advertising League), a Hotel League, a UK/US Lawyers League and a West End Theatres League (patron: Tim Rice), made up of the casts of large and long-running musicals such as Cats and Les Miserables.
Corporate leagues that affiliate to the BSF, many of them started in the 1980s or 1990s, include the London Advertising Softball League, the City Bankers League, the Publishers League, the London Legal League and the Civil Service League.
It’s great that these teams/leagues exist. However, it has also become quite dangerous in Regents Park where teams are playing matches on non marked out pitches which overlap pitches hosting official league matches. Some of these people seem to think it’s ok that they are hitting the ball into the outfield of another game (sometimes even into the infield). Something has to be done to maintain safety and also those teams that are paying for the priveldige of playing on marked out pitches should not have their league match spoilt in such a way.