Player dedicated to development of softball

Samantha Jones and her Falcons teammates coming out f the dugouts in one their fixtures before the lockdown.

It is amazing that women are no
longer around just to take notes
and send notifications but are
actually making their presence felt
in the administration and running
of sports bodies, says Cape Town
Softball Association (CTSA) financial
director, Samantha Jones.

The Crawford resident has dedicated her life to the development of the game of softball.

Jones, 33, was introduced to the sport when she followed her big sister to practise sessions back in their primary school days.

When her sister, Nicolene, needed a training partner, she stepped up and has become a prominent figure at CTSA.

In addition to her administrative work and involvement in the development side of the sport, Jones plays catcher for Falcons.

Not only is she pushing for the game to be spoken of in the same breath as other major sporting codes, she also wants to see women at the forefront of the administrative work of the game. For that to happen, she feels she has to lead by example.

“Empowering women at all levels is extremely important. In softball specifically women have always been the majority percentage of the membership in Cape Town.

“This is definitely evident and well represented on our current CTSA exco with six of our nine members, including our chairperson, being female.

“The older females have always played a role within our code but these days we are seeing more and more younger ladies and girls coming to the fore and taking up positions,” she says.

“We have a greater responsibility within the sporting world and it’s great to be a part of it.”

Jones has been involved in softball since the age of 13 and was part of the United School Sport Association of South Africa (USSASA) under-19 side by the age of 15.

In 2016 she was named CTSA Sportswoman of the Year, which she says is her most memorable achievement.

Despite what she and other softball administrators are seeking to accomplish, there will always be challenges along the way, finances being at the top of the pile.

A lack of exposure makes getting sponsorship in softball even more difficult, and travelling to many of their tournaments is self-funded.

“Access to decent, reasonably priced equipment as well as proper training facilities designed for softball is a huge challenge.

“On the field of play, one of the major things lacking is our exposure to international competition, a higher and different standard of playing. Obviously the pandemic is not going to help the cause right now but it’s definitely something that needs to become a regular occurrence.

“We are trying to focus and develop all our juniors holistically and that way they will be able to carry the torch and improve the level going forward.

“Taking the sport to all areas, ensuring that everyone is benefitting and treated fairly. I feel like here in Cape Town we are moving in the right direction,” she added.

Jones says what keeps her going and wanting to see the growth of this sport is what she has been able to achieve through it.

“I have travelled, made lifelong friendships, both in South Africa and abroad, and been able to impact so many young lives because of it.

“Giving back to the sport is so important. The fact that I am still able to take to the field and go to battle alongside a group of ladies who have become like family to me is one of the greatest feelings and I want to be able to help others experience that.

“I want to give our juniors and youth the opportunity to experience this code the way I have, to learn to love and live this sport. Sport teaches you so many other lessons besides just developing your sporting abilities.”