Two longtime leaders of the local women's sport instrumental in winning the bid
SAN DIEGO -- As the local America's Finest City Softball League (AFCSL) gets ready to kick off their 30th anniversary season this weekend, two women who have been longtime members of AFCSL's leadership recently won a coveted prize for the league: a World Series bid.
Dani Goodlett and Stacey Hayashi (pictured) recently travelled to Philadelphia to respond to the exciting opportunity, touting the advantages of America's Finest City to participating delegates. When the final votes were tallied, their bid was a home run and as a result, San Diego will host the 2012 ASANA World Series.
The Amateur Sports Alliance of North America (ASANA) is a women's softball organization, with 26 cities currently participating across the nation, including San Diego. But it hasn't always been that way.
We are better together
Our local AFCSL has traditionally been affiliated with the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA), which was formed in 1977, just four years before members of the AFCSL started swinging their own bats around.
According to their website, NAGAAA is a "non-profit, international organization comprised of men and women dedicated to promoting amateur athletics for the gay and lesbian community. NAGAAA was formed to encourage the participation of gay and lesbians in organized softball competition."
Following the NAGAAA format, AFCSL has two divisions; the Open Division which includes both men's and mixed-sex teams; and the Women's Division. Each division has four levels of play, from the most competitive A rank, through, which is considered a recreational level.
The women's division has historically been offered the opportunity for World Series participation through NAGAAA Women. However, in 2007, NAGAAA Women branched off and formed ASANA, and they now operate alone.
When this separation of the national organization occurred, many cities chose to split their local leagues in half, as well. Not so in San Diego, says Goodlett, current AFCSL co-commissioner (women's division) and ASANA Tournament Director.
"I am very proud to say that the AFCSL board strongly agrees that we, the LGBT softball community, are better together," she said.
Boosting athletics, relationships and local economies
Bringing any World Series to a host city provides a boost to the local economy. This specific event will draw between 70-80 teams from across the country to San Diego. Most players will stay the entire week, and since these are LGBT athletes, this also means a sizable increase in revenue to the local LGBT community.
AFCSL hosted the 2005 World Series - then fully associated with NAGAAA - and Goodlett and Hayashi were both heavily involved in that tournament when it came to San Diego, as well.
"I could not be more excited and am looking forward to hosting another ASANA Series right here in our own backyard," Goodlett continued. "San Diego is an amazing location for this event and the number of teams, players, and fans it will bring to our city will be extraordinary.
"Our parks are top-notch and the entire week will be full of a lot of fun! As ASANA is the host, the AFCSL is already offering to step up and support the event ... all I can say is that these two organizations are amazing!"
The event will allow local LGBT businesses the opportunity to sponsor series play, offer special series events and increase their visibility overall on a national scale.
Embraced by ASANA delegates in the City of Brotherly Love
Every two years ASANA puts forth a bid to host the annual world series event. Last year's event was held in Las Vegas and was the largest women's softball world series in the 25th year history, with a total of 89 teams participating.
While in Las Vegas, the ASANA executive board took a poll of the participants asking them where they would like to see the 2012 series played. San Diego was well ahead of its two closest competitor cities, Austin and Long Beach, but the decision was still up to the board.
Goodlett and Hayashi immediately got to work researching their own response to the bid, and presented it at the recent 2011 Winter Delegate meeting in Philadelphia.
The duo didn't have to convince the delegates too much; after all, the city and all it has to offer speaks for itself, but they did lay out a solid plan and once the presentation was over, the delegates made their decision final. San Diego in 2012.
"We are pleased to announce that San Diego will be host for the ASANA Softball World Series in 2012," Stacey Hayashi, ASANA commissioner and former co-commissioner of AFCSL, said.
"Voted by ASANA teams as the number one most desired destination, this will be the third time San Diego will be host to this annual tournament. We expect a great turnout of teams to play and vacation in San Diego.
"We are looking forward to working with the local LGBT community and America's Finest City Softball League to help make this tournament the best ever!"
This year's ASANA World Series will be held in Philadelphia, August 22 - 28th, 2011.
More about ASANA
The ASANA executive board is comprised of members from across the country.
- Commissioner - Stacey Hayashi, San Diego
- Assistant Commissioner - Angel Smith, Atlanta
- Secretary - Cheryl O'Bryan, Greater Palm Beaches
- Treasurer - Nina Cole, Atlanta
- Tournament Director - Dani Goodlett, San Diego
- Director of Team and Player Compliance - Kellie Cohen, Phoenix
- Director of Operations - Cathy Harris, Philadelphia
Local volunteers will round out the team that helps makes the series happen here in San Diego.