Should the sport of softball be voted this fall to return to the Olympic Games, the usual suspects will undoubtedly be in Tokyo in 2020.
But there is one nation who will look to reenter the Olympic softball fray and it's the nation undoubtedly the most steeped in Olympic tradition.
Greece last fielded a softball team in the 2004 Games in Athens, missing out on the sport's as-yet final appearance in 2008. The Grecians went 2-5 in the '04 Games, besting Canada and Italy with losses to the other quintet of teams in competition play.
Now revitalizing and rebuilding their team for this year's World Championships, there is a renewed excitement surrounding the future and even the present for the young ladies helping build the next brand of Greek softball.
Led by one of the game's bright young minds in Oregon assistant coach Jimmy Kolaitis, himself a first-generation Greek-American, the squad are fighting an uphill battle --- without monetary backing from the country, the fight for survival-demanding funding has to be taken to your general public. Instead of, say, a $50,000 operating budget, the team has to go off of $50 donations from John Smith and Sarah Jones.
The pool for potential players, while talented, is small. Kolaitis says that early outreach has brought in several Greek-American players and a Greek-Canadian to the fold, as well as earned high praise and support from countless peers and others inside the game.
"Grow the game" has taken on a new meaning with this Grecian squad. Want to contribute to their endeavors? Click here to take the opportunity to do so and stay tuned to Justin's World of Softball for further coverage of the Greek National Team later this year.