Just like every year in May/June we organise the amazing Mike Stapleton Memorial tournament. This year it may have been overshadowed by the World Championship which is going to be held on our fields in a week. As always, the organisation of this tournament is very hard and it’s a result of a many months long communication. Like every year a lot of changes appear after we all think everything is ready and they have to be resolved in a few days, sometimes even hours. It costs a lot of patience of those who are a part of this amazing project but also of those who help around and even of the players. This year, before I thank to everyone who took part in making this come into reality, I would like everyone who were interested in general to know all the facts around this tournament.

This tournament was born as a thought of the fact that there aren’t many tournaments in young men’s softball for European teams. Yes, there are many tournaments in the Czech Republic, even thought we think there could be even more of them, but the international events are missing. Before I started crying that there are no events of this type, one person who is an inspiration to many of us that even the impossible can come true, told me “If you want something, do it yourself.“ Thank you, Tom!

Thanks to all contacts and the amazing people who don’t only see their own team, club, or even just their country, all of this was possible and now we need to take these walls down in other countries too. So that these tournaments can be born everywhere. Israel tried to do the same thing this year and I’m forever thankful.

As Gabriel Waage, the president of Czech Softball Association and the ESF, said in the newsletter, these tournaments are very important and me and the Association should lead as an example and organise these tournaments and support growth in other countries as much as possible. Because if there’s not better softball in other countries, Czech softball won’t get any better either. We have to take this responsibility to help the European softball grow, just like the rest of the world tries to help us grow, whether it be collaboration with Argentina or Japan.

That’s why I would like to thank everyone who helped establish this tournament, helped it grow and should get credit for making it work. The experience from this tournament will live and the memories will stay with the boys forever.  Maybe it will be the reason why they keep playing softball.

Last but not least I would like to thank Zuzka, my wife, who helps me manage this colossal event since the very beginning. Thank you to Helča thanks to whom I got all the needed contacts and help during the organisation. Thank you to Kevin and Corey who have taken that wall of their own teams, clubs and countries and actively help the European softball grow. Thank you to Gába and the ESF. Thank you to Tomáš, who despite the constant changes helps to keep the tournament on our fields. Thank you to Jitka, who joined the organisation committee three years ago and without whose help we can’t even imagine this now. The organisation committee is made of four people:
- Ondra Stroner
- Zuzana Stronerová
- Helena Novotná
- Jitka Chaloupková

To everyone who took part in this year’s tournament, endless thank yous. Softball will give back to you.
Drivers: Tomáš Rychlý, Alf Nzambi, Lucie Janáčková, Ivona Menšíková, Josef Šulc
Help on the fields: Ivo Honar, Zdeněk Mach
Photos: Grega Valančič

Joudrs girls U16 – Barbora Reusová, Hanka Menšíková, Kristýna Horáčková, Karolína Domesová, Karolína Nosková, Anna Haincová, Berenika Biskupová a Kateřina Kameníková

SaBaT girls U16 - Karolína Teplá, Nikola Šimanovská, Markéta Susková, Kamila Zimová, Zuzana Dudová, Barbora Capíková, Tereza Pechalová, Marie Pozděnová a Zuzana Vlčkova.

Adult supervisors at SaBaT - Hanka Vlčkova, Martin Suska, Petra Dudová and Veronika Kašparová from Spectrum Praha, who helped us with the catering in Černý Most.

Thank you to our Clubhouse with Karolína in the front line, who, despite many complications, helped with catering.

You’re the best.

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- Ondra Stoner -