As the most popular sport among indigenous females, Softball is proud to support NAIDOC Week.
NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day of Observance Committee) Week celebrations are held around Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
This year’s theme celebrates the essential role that women have played — and continue to play — as active and significant role models at the community, local, state and national levels.
Softball Australia’s commitment to Indigenous Australians is ongoing, through the Indigenous Softball Program.
With the support of the Australian Government through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, in the past year three years softball has been used as a vehicle to improve the health and well-being of indigenous players.
Softball Australia has supported the development of softball programs and competitions for more than 2600 indigenous players per year in communities in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. Softball is by far the most popular sport among indigenous girls and women in remote communities.
By far the best known of Australia’s indigenous softball players is Stacey Porter, the inspirational captain of the Aussie Spirit national team.
Porter, widely regarded as the world’s best hitter, will lead the Aussie Spirit at the Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan from August 2-12. With softball back in the Olympics, the World Championship is also the first chance for Australia to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Japan has become a second home to Porter, who has played professionally there for 11 seasons. In her amazing career, she has represented Australia in international competition more than 400 times. She is paving the way for other indigenous Australian sporting women to tour the world and show a strong professional pathway for young girls to play softball.
Softball Australia CEO David Pryles says his organisation is proud of the pathway it has created for indigenous females to enjoy the fun and health benefits of playing softball.
“Softball Australia is extremely proud to support NAIDOC Week, as we recognise the important role that indigenous women play in our community,” Pryles says.
“We are fortunate that our national women’s team, the Aussie Spirit, is led by such an inspirational role model as Stacey Porter, who has given so much both to Australian sport and to indigenous communities.”
Porter has become a role model for more than just her softball achievements. Early in her career she spent time working with youngsters in remote communities, particularly in Western Australia, where she ran softball clinics and spoke to indigenous players about sport and about life.
“The biggest thing for me is to see the smile on their faces when they just get out and throw a softball,” Porter says.
“They don’t get many opportunities to play sport sometimes.
“I just try to have fun with them, and I tell them just to enjoy it, and if you love something enough, stick at it.”
At age 36, the 183cm power-hitting infielder has not slowed down and is still among the hitters most feared by opposing pitchers all over the world.
Because of her, we can!