In the heart of Georgia, a great passion for softball flourishes. At the epicenter of this excitement is Rafael Marcano, a Venezuelan and the president of the Hispanic Softball League, who has agreed to share with La Isla Magazine the fascinating story behind this growing sports tradition.
La Isla Magazine: Rafael Marcano, thank you very much for the invitation, for bringing us here to live and enjoy softball. How did this idea come about in the Lowcountry?
Rafael: Well, thank you for being here and for featuring us. The Hispanic Softball League was founded last year, in October, as a response to the need of the Latino community to do something different on Sundays. Many of the players present here today used to play soccer, and I’m also a soccer enthusiast. However, we decided to start playing softball. We initiated the first tournament in November, and then we came together to formally establish the league as a company. After that, we began our second tournament with six teams, which we concluded in August, and now in September, we’ve started the current tournament.
La Isla Magazine: It’s incredible to see how an idea born out of a passion for the sport grows over time. Will there be room for new teams in the next championship?
Rafael: Yes, the idea is to keep growing, and we are confident in this. Currently, we have eight teams representing Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. We also have American players, and even players from countries where softball is not typically played, like Colombia. So, we have players from many nationalities.
La Isla Magazine: Rafael, we know that in Venezuela, there is a great love for softball. As a Venezuelan, can you tell us how this passion is experienced in your country?
Rafael: Yes, in Venezuela, baseball is a passion, the national sport, and, as such, softball is played everywhere in Venezuela, especially in all the neighborhoods across the country.
La Isla Magazine: What is the difference between baseball and softball?
Rafael: In softball, the bases and the field are smaller. The pitching is different because in baseball, the ball is thrown overhand, while in softball, it’s thrown underhand. Also, the softball itself is larger.
La Isla Magazine: Those who are fans of this sport find a place here where they can be a part of it, not only by being on the team but also as an experience to enjoy with their families.
Rafael: That’s right, today you can enjoy a softball game; wives accompany their husbands and bring their children, who can have fun in the playground. We also have food vendors and many other things. Many people are involved in this project, and we all benefit financially from it.
La Isla Magazine: It’s essential to see how different companies in our beloved Hispanic community get involved and become part of this process. Please remind us where people can come to watch you play.
Rafael: We typically play every Sunday at Pooler Recreation Park in Georgia. We’ll be there from 8 or 9 in the morning until 5 or 6 in the evening. For anyone interested in playing, they can contact me at my phone number, 912-944-9765. I would also like to take this opportunity to call on those interested in sponsoring a team or the league itself.
La Isla Magazine: We invite our readers to support this great cause. Don’t forget that you can also follow all the information about the Hispanic Softball League on their Facebook and Instagram social media accounts. Thank you very much, Rafael, and we’re always ready to deliver a positive message to our community.
Rafael: Thank you very much, and you know, everyone is welcome to play or enjoy the event. Thank you to all!
By: Camilo Florido