Kinesio ï¿½ the brightly coloured, therapeutic tape worn by hundreds of international Olympic stars this summer ï¿½ is supporting many equally talented, but lesser known athletes in their quest for success.
Softball is rapidly gaining popularity in the UK, and women's fastpitch softball, which was an Olympic medal sport from 1996 in Atlanta through 2008 in Beijing, is hoping to get back onto the Olympic programme soon.
The Great Britain Women's Fastpitch Team played extremely well to reach the final in the Elite Division at the Canadian Open Fastpitch Championships near Vancouver this past July and then played equally well at the World Championships that followed in Whitehorse, in Canada's Yukon Territory, where they finished 11th and maintained their place among the best teams in Europe and the world.
GB pitcher Stacie Townsend, a 24-year-old whose father comes from North West England, but who currently lives in Florida, was named to the All-World Team after the World Championships were over. Stacie not only led the tournament in innings pitched and strikeouts as a pitcher, but also compiled the second highest batting average in the competition.
To soothe the team's aching muscles while playing 14 games in 12 days in the Canadian Open and then seven more games in the World Championships, Kinesio UK sent the girls off with a good supply of pink, blue and black tape for the team physio to apply when the going got tough.
Team General Manager Bob Fromer said: "Even though our team is one of the best in the world, we get no funding from British government agencies, and our players bear most of the costs of competing for their country. So every penny counts, and the donation we received from Kinesio UK of hundreds of pounds worth of tape for our physio to use was a real boost. Plus, it was really excellent therapeutic tape, and really helped our players to keep playing despite the stresses and strains of playing so many pressure games in a short space of time."
The next major competition for the GB Women's Fastpitch Softball Team will be European Championships, to be played in Prague, Czech Republic from 7-13 July 2013. The tournament will also be a qualifier for the next World Championships in 2014 in Haarlem in the Netherlands ï¿½ the first time that the championships will be played in Europe. The GB Team has high hopes of qualifying for the World Championships again next year and will be training hard to achieve this ï¿½ with Kinesio helping them to mend on the move at every turn!
Softball is a variant of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field. It was invented in Chicago in 1887 as an indoor game. The game has been called many different names ï¿½ indoor baseball, mush ball, playground ball, kitten ball, and, because it was also played by women, ladies' baseball. The name softball was given to the game in 1926, and it is now played in over 130 countries.
Softball is played between two teams on a large field, with nine players from each team on the field at a time. And despite the name, the ball is not soft! It's a game that requires the highest levels of courage and skill to play successfully.
The GB Women's Softball Team was founded in 1985 and has played in European Championship competitions since the early 1990s. The team has qualified for and competed in the last three World Championship tournaments.
For more information about softball please go to www.britishsoftball.org