National Pro Fastpitch Cheri Kempf recently announced the 2020 NPF season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is understandable and not a surprise, it is still disappointing.
I have rarely missed a Chicago Bandits home game over the last six seasons. It’s more than just a softball game. It has become a day of fun including tailgating, connecting with friends, working our way through all nearby restaurants, mingling with the players and more. I will miss Bandit Nation this season, but I am already planning other options to help fill the void.
I first looked to the Team USA women’s softball team. Team USA started the “Stand Beside Her” tour after the postponement of the 2020 Olympics until 2021. Team USA was playing exhibition games all over the country. Unfortunately, Team USA officials just announced the tour was halted, but there is hope it will resume at some point. If the tour resumes, I assume Chicago would be a stop, but I will be ready for a road trip, too.
The USSSA Pride (of Florida) and the Scrap Yard Dawgs (of Texas) are two independent pro women’s softball teams. Formerly in the NPF, these teams are reviving the “old school” barnstorming approach as they battle each other all over the country throughout the summer. I am friends with many of the players and am looking forward to catching a few games on their schedule.
Athletes Unlimited announced a new women’s pro softball league to be played entirely in Rosemont, Illinois, starting in August. The league would run for six weeks and have a unique scoring system, awarding players and teams for various achievements. I’m interested to see how the new approach works, but mostly I’ll be happy to see live softball.
My last hope for softball this year is Fall Ball at Northwestern and DePaul. The schools usually host three weekend tournaments in the fall. While the spring college seasons were halted, there has not been an announcement on Fall Ball yet. Still about four months away, I’m optimistic I will see the Wildcats and Blue Demons on the field. They might even add a few games.
I will miss watching the Bandits, but I am enjoying “Bandits Candids,” an Instagram Live series featuring players interviewed by ace onfield reporter Kacy Standohar. I also am grateful for classic NPF games online. In the worst-case scenario of no softball this summer, I will defer to the classic Chicago adage, “Wait ’til next year.”
— John Wroblewski, online writer
Deep Dive Dubai, home of the deepest swimming pool for diving in the world, opened in Dubai, in the Nad Al Sheba neighborhood. Guinness World Records verified the pool as the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving at a depth of 60.02 meters, or almost 197 feet, holding 14 million liters of water, equivalent to six Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
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For the third year in a row, Regent Seven Seas Cruises broke the company’s world cruise opening day booking record. The 2024 World Cruise sold out around 11 a.m. on July 14, after going on sale that morning at 8:30 a.m. Fares started at $73,499 per guest for a deluxe veranda suite, up to $199,999 per guest for a master suite.
You probably didn’t know you needed to visit the Dominican Republic until you learned about the new, beautiful, modern, all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana.
Aqua-Aston Hospitality, with hotels in Hawai’i, Florida and Costa Rica, introduced an intelligent text messaging platform at its hotels and resorts, streamlining real-time communication with guests. Since the mobile technology has been implemented, the platform has been successfully used to answer guest questions, manage check-in, deliver amenities, quickly communicate updates on services, send alerts and enable contact-less check-out.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel picks up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Okinawa with us.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
After more than a year of staying home and social distancing, Americans are ready to experience live entertainment again. According to Allianz Partners USA’s Vacation Confidence Index survey, 55 percent of Americans plan on attending at least one ticketed event before the end of 2021, with 16 percent planning to attend three or more events.