JANUARY 24 2011 UPDATE
NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH RETURNS TO SULPHUR
Nashville – National Pro Fastpitch in conjunction with Sulphur Parks and Recreation announced today the site for the 2011 NPF Championship Series. The Series has been awarded again to Sulphur, Louisiana and will be held August 18-21 at McMurry Park in Sulphur. The event will be hosted by, and with the cooperation of, the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Department and the support of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention &Visitors Bureau.
“Sulphur Parks and Recreation is proud to continue the great relationships formed in the 2010 Championships with the NPF League and their outstanding players. We look forward to the many positive aspects the National Pro FastPitch Championship Series brings to Southwest LA,” said Norman Farr, director of Sulphur Parks and Recreation.
The NPF Championship Series is the League’s hallmark event and is designed to feature the League’s outstanding talent in a playoff/tournament format. All four NPF Teams participate in the Championship Series. The format is a best of 3 series between the #1 and #4 seed, along with a best of 3 series between the #2 and #3 seeds, with the winners of those two series’ facing off in a best of 3 Final Championship Series. This will be the second time the event will be held in the state of Louisiana.
“The people of Southwest Louisiana and specifically the leadership of the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Department along with the Lake Charles CVB welcomed the NPF in 2010 with open arms, which enabled NPF to hold a first class championship experience,” commented Commissioner Cheri Kempf of the National Pro Fastpitch League. “We believe the environment and accommodations in Sulphur and Lake Charles will greatly contribute to making the NPF Championship Series the premier women’s fastpitch softball competition in the world.”
In last year’s NPF Championship Series, the #2 Seed of the Series, USSSA Florida Pride, captured the title after first winning a best of 3 series from the #3 Seed Akron Racers, before moving into the Final Series round against the #1 Seed 3-peat Ringor Cup Regular Season Champions, the Chicago Bandits. The Chicago Bandits earned their way to the Final Series through the Tennessee Diamonds. The Pride’s Natasha Watley was named the MVP of the 2010 NPF Championship Series.
“The positive superlatives stretch from great Economics to the quality of life additions manifested through their charity works, sports promotion through youth outreach, and other “fun” Fan Fest events. Southwest Louisiana “Can’t Wait” for 2011,” said Farr.
The Championship Series will be surrounded by additional promotional events including a Pro-Am Golf Tournament, 5K Race, NPF/Ringor Friends of the Pros Game (for handicapped athletes) , NPF 2011 Season Awards Luncheon, and a Players Clinic. In addition to that, a series of USSSA youth qualifying tournaments that coincide with the Championship Series are expected to be announced soon. Television coverage has yet to be finalized.
“We are honored to once again host the National Pro Fastpitch Championship Series,” said Eric Zartler, Senior Sales Manager/Athletics for the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The Southwest Louisiana community truly embraced this event in 2010 and showed their support by turning out in record numbers for the Series. “
“Southwest Louisiana set the bar a long time ago for youth sports and we are thrilled to be a part of bringing professional athletes and a professional Championship Series to the area once again,” Zartler added.
“An event like the National Professional Fastpitch Championship Series has large economic implications for the entire area,” said Shelley Johnson, Executive Director of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau. “In addition to the funding generated by the visitor expenditures on food, gas and souvenirs, the Series also brings a national spotlight to Southwest Louisiana.”
JENNIE FINCH’S BLOG: WE’RE HAVING A BOY
people.com : We were so elated to share our baby news with everyone through PEOPLE.com. The outpouring of thoughtful notes and support since last week has been amazing! It’s so fun to be able to celebrate our baby blessing with others. We have a little more news to share, too — we’re having a boy! A little brother for Ace. We’re working on names as we speak. Casey had Ace’s name picked out since we started dating, and we need one equally as special for his little brother. Any suggestions are welcome!
It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the physical changes and feelings of pregnancy these days. Feeling tired, feeling nauseated, expanding everywhere … but then I’m brought back to reality and am humbled with the incredible miracle of motherhood. It is indeed a miracle. It’s so wild to think that our baby — who started as two cells — is now the size of a turnip. I’m not sure why the baby books all use fruits and vegetables to explain the size of your child, but a turnip he is! He went from a grape to a lime to a turnip.
What a miracle to see the ultrasounds … absolutely incredible. I want to stay there for hours watching our sweet baby on the screen. It is so fascinating and reassuring to see the baby moving and all his precious growing body parts. It’s just wild. I’ve posted our ultrasound from the day we found out he was a boy — he’s giving a thumbs up!
CLOSING POST OFFICES
The Post Office is closing dozens of post offices in March and plans to close at least 2,000 more. While USPS declared the closings a cost cutting move, and several were mentioned which lose money, the impact of closings already in the works is having a negative impact in rural America.
Already, the Internet is carrying hardship stories, especially from elderly people in small towns who depend on the mail for prompt delivery of drugs, and value the Post Office is a meeting place for friends. Granted, people can receive stamps by mail, and home delivery will continue, albeit from central post offices, adding a day or two to the schedule. One small town PO is being closed because it lacks a furnace; townfolk offered to buy and install a new furnace but USPS paid no heed. Many of the communities affected no longer have schools; their local schools were absorbed into regional schools. Many small towns have long been without local medical help, and grocers among others have closed their doors, compelling people to go to larger towns or suburbs for their needs.
True, economic considerations dictate we seek efficiency and cost-effectiveness in every facet of our lives. Still, those of a certain age, who grew up in those small towns, feel a sharp pang of sadness. A great many of us left to seek larger opportunities elsewhere while striving to retain at least some of the values we acquired in Smalltown America. A way of life is collapsing into history.