Softball and baseball, although they are similar they are very different. Baseball and softball are both sports that were "born" in the United States. Baseball is considered "the all American sport". Baseball started in the mid 1800s and softball started in the late 1800s.
Baseball is the game that boys grow up with. They start around 5 years of age but really start getting into the game by age 8. They will play baseball through school and those with drive and determination can go onto Professional Baseball.
Girls play softball in the younger years and both boys and girls in school and after the school years. There are a lot of adult softball leagues keeping adults of all ages busy with one of America's favorite pastimes. Softball is often played in Physical Education programs at the Junior High School, High School and College levels. In Colleges, for extra activities, teams are set up for intramural sports. Students can sign up to join a team for extracurricular activities. When you are finished with your school years, you can always find a neighborhood recreation program that you can sign up to play adult softball. These adult programs are generally for adults above the age of 18.
Softball is generally divided between Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch. Fast Pitch is more competitive and the ball is delivered fast as it is in baseball. The delivery is from an underhand pitch as opposed to from an overhand delivery as we see with baseball. In this pitch, the arm is rotated backward in a circular motion and as it comes forward again, the ball is released toward the batter and over the plate. It is a difficult pitch to master because if the release is not right, the ball could be anywhere. In Slow Pitch, the pitch also is delivered underhand but the arm is not brought around in the full and fast circle. The action is just a slight c circle underhand toss with a longer arc. The ball drops over the plate and gives the batter more advantage. Slow Pitch is not as competitive and more of a leisure fun activity. Often times, the outs are counted to get back up to bat but the score is often forgotten. (Unless you are playing in a league.)
This is a long way from softball's early beginnings on a windy day during November, 1887. Yale and Harvard supporters were gathered in Chicago awaiting the results of the Yale-Harvard football game. After the final of the game, someone drew a boxing glove at another and the other person tried to hit it with a stick. With this, the game of softball began. One hundred plus years later, softball was being recognized again. Although the game had attained international status, it was now time for the Olympics to recognize it. Softball was accepted to the Olympics in 1991. The introduction of softball to the Olympic Games appeared during the Summer Games of 1996. The future of baseball and softball is uncertain for the Olympics. The 2 sports will be included in the Olympic Games of 2008 but they have been dropped from the 2012 Games. They will be reconsidered but the drop makes it possible to replace these sports with 2 other sports with more International support. Part of the decision is based on the Baseball leagues refusal to take a break during the time of the Olympic Games. This does not allow the league players the ability to participate.