Softball is returning to Prague in the aid of charity

The time has almost arrived when softball returns to Prague for people to have fun and help an NGO raise money for local education

The first of this year’s biannual event, in association with Prague.TV and Prague Monitor, will be the 38th match since the Heavy Hitters International Charity Softball Tournament began, nearly 20 years ago. The event will take place on May 13-14 but teams have until April 14th to register.

There are a number of softball and baseball fields in Prague, but the best by far is in Krč, home of the Prague Eagles, where the tournament will take place. The field also comes with professional umpires, which helps settle minor disputes and keeps the tournament at a high level.

“The location for the tournament is perfect and it’s very professional with three or four fields,” said organizer Anna Vankova.

As always, all proceeds from the tournament go to the Prague Post Endowment Fund. The PPEF uses the funds from the tournament for several programmes: providing books to schools, training teachers and subsidizing teachers for children in hospitals. The proceeds raised are invaluable to the recipients, with a stable amount of money being raised every year to provide support and grant those in need security.

For the future of the PPEF the Heavy Hitters would like to help teachers with career guidance and growth as at the moment change is undergoing throughout the system of evaluation of teachers in Czech Republic.

The format for the tournament consists of two leagues, the experienced and the, not so, experienced. This means those looking to have a less serious game can partake.

Teams that participate will play five or six matches over the course of the two day event with trophies awarded to the winners. For both leagues, the teams are co-ed, meaning at least two women have to play. And conversely, at least two men have to be on a team but so far this has not been a problem in practice. Teams need to beat least ten people.

Also on show will be a variety of food and refreshments with all the proceeds again going to the PPEF, so there is no excuse not to buy a beer or two!

Weather permitting, other activities besides from softball are known to take place. A casual game of Frisbee is a common feature.

The popularity of the tournament continues to grow with a wide range of teams taking part from all across the world.

“The tournament is getting very global now,” said Mrs. Vankova.

“For this year we have already four teams from Great Britain and two teams from Kuwait as well as teams from Germany, Poland and Slovakia.”

An addition this year is paid training to help those who want to know the sport better and have a full grasp of the rules.

“This year we are offering professional training before the event which can act as a great team building exercise for groups who want to participate,” she added.

Long-time participants in the tournament include Bohemia Bagel, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Canadian Medical Care, and Blackdog Cantina.

Canadian Medical Care will continue to help out at the tournament, something they are more than happy to do.

“For several years in a row now, it has been a great honour for us to participate in the Heavy Hitters Charity Softball Tournament for Education. We assist in the medical sense by providing professional medical oversight of the tournament, therefore becoming a sponsor of the idea behind it. This makes us proud and we will be continuing to do so. Our medical facility places great emphasis on supporting education. Since more than half of our clients speak English, further educating our employees in the use of English represents one of our main priorities,” states lead doctor and managing director of Canadian Medical Care, MUDr. Barbara Taušová.

Softball has a bit of history in the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia. Even though it was a specifically American game it was also popular in Cuba allowing the sport to make its way into communist Europe.

For all teams taking part they can also look forward to a banquet after the tournament ends at one of the sponsoring establishments where everyone will receive a T-shirt.

For more information visit the official Facebook event page.

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