An inclusive softball team that has broken down barriers is now celebrating being presented the Robin Hood AM Sport Award, which is sponsored by Communities, Sport and Recreation (CSR).
CSR was delighted when the Southern Tasmanian Softball Association (STSA) received the award as it has historically supported players with disability, including facilitating the full inclusion of the Special Olympic Bears as a regular team in its competition roster for the past 14 seasons.
CSR Director Kate Kent congratulated the STSA for increasing the opportunities for people with disability to participate in sport and recreation, and to reach their full potential.
“Getting involved in sport can mean the difference between isolation or involvement,” Kate said.
The Special Olympic Bears are a mixed team of about 20 softballers with intellectual disability. The team compete in the mainstream competition, and several current players represent Australia in the sport and have won gold, silver and bronze medals.
The Robin Hood AM Sport Award recognises a Tasmanian sporting organisation or not-for-profit sporting company that has been active in the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights in the Tasmanian community.
CSR Client Manager Al Adams was also very proud of the STSA, acknowledging that inclusion is important for sport participation.
“Participation in team sport is actually declining so clubs need to target other groups in the community. To grow membership of a sporting club, it’s important to encourage diversity and inclusion and invite a wide range of community members to get involved,” Al said.
It is also important for sporting clubs to encourage members to join as people are valuable resources and the larger the membership base, the greater the possibilities are for increased funding.
The STSA went out on a limb inviting the players into the roster. Some were unfamiliar with the game, and one player only had the use of one hand and catches and throws the ball with his glove, but this didn’t stop them getting to the next base.
Nine Human Rights Awards are given annually in Tasmania, several of which reflect CSR’s communities of interest:
- Youth Award
- Multicultural Award, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender & Intersex (LGBTI) Award
- Angus Downie Print Journalism Award (named after a journalist who was also a disability advocate)
Other categories in the Human Rights Awards are:
- Individual Award
- Organisation Award
- A Fairer World School Award
- Lucy Henry Mental Health Award
Photo: Laurie Newman (STSA President), Kate Kent (Director, CSR), Ev Seabourne (Softball Tasmania Development Officer) and Trish Webb (SO Bears Coach) at the award ceremony.