When facemasks on batting helmets came out, I was against them. As a player, I sure would have resisted. As a coach, I didn’t really care for the rule change much. We had been “fine” without those masks on helmets for years. Why do we need them now?
Then they came out with safety masks for fielders. Seriously? Most players that played during my time wouldn’t have been caught dead in one of those things. Heck I gave my dad a hard time about wearing a mouth piece when I had braces and was playing 3rd base.
BUT, my views on safety equipment in softball have changed quite a bit in the past few years. I have to admit that part of that is due to now being a parent of young softball players, the other part is due to the FACT that the game is not the same as it was when I was growing up. A Wichita mother pretty much summed it up in this article by saying, “The game has changed. The equipment has changed.”
The balls, the bats, the bat technology are all different now. Everything is designed for “more offense” which also means the ball is getting hit farther, faster, and harder than ever before. The infields are skinned instead of covered with grass (which used to slow the ball down).
Bottom line is the ball is traveling at player a lot faster than it was before which makes the game more dangerous than it was before. Safety equipment is necessary!
Maybe it’s not needed for every player in every league in every situation, but there is most definitely a need for it for certain positions, players, and leagues. I really wouldn’t mind one bit if it became mandatory for corners and pitchers to wear a fielder’s safety mask like the GameFace.
In recent years, I’ve seen more and more players getting hit with the ball…
- I’ve seen 3rd basemen take line drives to the forehead
- I’ve heard about players leaving the field in ambulances because they took a shot off the bat in the pitching circle
- I’ve heard of pitchers being hit multiple times in one season!
- I’ve seen my own 6-year-old swing at a ball and have it immediately and directl hit her batting helmet face mask. Imagine if the facemask hadn’t been required. That ball would have nailed her right smack in the face at age 6. Who knows if she would have even wanted to play after that?
- I’ve also heard of a lacrosse player dying after taking a shot to the chest which is why I’m also for pitchers wearing a chest guard under their uniform.
If you’ve never seen a player get hit before…just watch one of the videos below and try to tell me that safety equipment has no place in softball.
Stacie Mahoe shares lessons learned from decades around the diamond. Enjoy her unique insights on softball and life from years as a player, coach, parent, and fan of the game.