A Glove of Their Own to Warm IOC Committee’s Hearts?
- Updated: July 5, 2009
The summer Olympiad of 1904 was the first Olympic Games to welcome baseball into the fold.
In 1936, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) removed Polo from the Olympic Games. Why is this important? Well, until baseball was voted out of the Olympics it was the last sport to suffer such a fate.
At the games of the XXV Olympiad in Barcelona in 1992 after a long run as an Olympic demonstration sport, baseball finally became a medal sport.
Then came July 8th, 2005 when the IOC ruled to discontinue softball and baseball as of the 2012 Olympics in London.
As it stands now the last country to win an Olympic medal in baseball will be South Korea, as they captured the gold in Beijing in 2008.
By dropping baseball and softball from the 2012 games, it has eliminated close to 300 athletes from competition at the games.
That leads us to where we are today. The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) is currently looking to prove to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that baseball is in fact a sport that embodies the Olympic spirit and thus should be included in all Olympics going forward starting in 2016.
So all eyes have started to look forward to October 2016 when the IOC will then select from Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, or Madrid to host the Games.
Baseball is without an Olympic home but in the capable hands of IBAF President Dr. Harry Schiller baseball soldiers on with an eye towards the 2016 games.
Despite its global popularity growing and the fact that three different teams have hoisted a gold medal around their neck in the past five Olympiads, the IOC has felt that it is time for baseball to be taken off the program.
It is the goal of Dr. Schiller and the IBAF to make sure that baseballs absence from the games is merely temporary in nature. As it is unclear to the regular fan the exact reason that the great game that claims to have its roots in Cooperstown, New York is being discontinued, but one thing is for certain.
Baseball like the other games approved for competition embraces the Olympic spirit and the lessons of sportsmanship, friendship and hard work that the IOC looks to promote at every turn through out the games.
As far as I can see the Olympic movement is defined by Pierre de Coubertin, its creator. It was Pierre in June of 1894 along with Demetrios Vikelas who founded the Olympic movement and subsequently the International Olympic Committee that organized the Athens of Olympics of 1896.
It was these two gentlemen that began the movement, keeping in mind “the goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”
It is now the IBAF’s job to convince current IOC President Jacques Rogue and the rest of the committee, that baseball does exactly that.
As part of Dr. Schiller’s campaign to outline baseball’s importance to the international community and the lessons that can be learned he turned to an unusual source. The International Baseball Federation didn’t look for testimonials from professionals, from as they are called in the industry, “baseball people.”
It went back to find where baseball fit in conjunction with the principles of the movements founder. There back at the beginning of the IOC he found education through sport, mutual understanding, friendship and fair play.
He also found A Glove of their Own, a beautifully illustrated children’s book that captures just that. The lessons we all learn as children playing on our own sandlot. The lessons of that a strike is a strike, an out is an out, and you don’t need an umpire to tell you why.
Baseball teaches that after you make out, your friends will pick you up, whether it shouts of you’ll get him next time, or a rally saving base hit.
More importantly it is the education of our youth that makes this world a better place, A Glove of Their Own goes beyond keeping your eye on the ball and your elbow up. It tells of a story that not only benefits those involved, but the ripple effect of paying it forward.
With that in mind Dr. Schiller and the IBAF ordered copies of A Glove of Their Own, which they distributed to 30 members of the IOC. It is through A Glove of Their Own that the IBAF continues to make its case that baseball is the perfect vehicle to contribute to the Olympic Movement.
So the IBAF stares ahead, armed with an unusual secret weapon. A small illustrated book written to educate, to teach youth of one more lesson baseball brings us to enrich our lives. It unintentionally has managed to mirror and embody the IOC’s goals. Without compromise A Glove of Their Own has managed to show that baseball encapsulates the principles, beliefs, and lessons that the IOC has set for each of the sports on display at its celebration of sport.
With that in mind, I fully expect Dr.Schiller and IBAF will be able to open the 2016 the games with the “PLAY BALL” heard around the world.
A Glove of Their Own, is an award winning children’s book from Franklin Mason Press that is winning the hearts and minds of baseball fans everywhere. Special thanks to Bob Salomon for his unwaivering support of the project, and Debbie Moldovan, Keri Conkling and Lisa Funari-Willever. Please take the time to visit www.agloveoftheirown.com