Parents and organizers of local softball programs say Lubbock is losing out on major tournaments, therefore losing millions of dollars all because of Lubbock's lack of softball fields. On Thursday, organizers met with city council to discuss current facilities, along with the growing need for more fields.
Hundreds of softball players packed the fields of Mackenzie Park for the South Plains Girls Fast Pitch Opening ceremonies. NewsChannel 11 spoke with a couple parents who agreed that Lubbock needs more practice fields and game fields.
Joe Lofton has been a softball parent for over 13 years, he said, "We're having problems now, the condition of the fields too. They just need a little more TLC during the year, water, fertilizer."
Many parents also say Lubbock needs more fields. With over 650 softball participants in Lubbock, plus fans, it appears support for the sport exists.
Softball Mom, Stacey Derr said, "we've got support obviously, look how many people are here. And so if we can have that support it seems like we should be able to maybe get the city behind us."
National Youth Director of the United States Specialty Sports Association, Bobby Drum told city council why Lubbock needs to address the issues.
"One is so kids have a place to play, we can help keep those kids active and doing positive things, and it also brings in tournaments and brings in a huge economic impact," said Drum.
Softball tournaments brought in around $4 million in 2004. Last year, Lubbock hosted almost 40 small tournaments. Drum said Lubbock could host major tournaments for children and adults, if the city had more fields. The current situation often sends those tournaments to Midland or Abilene.
On those other cities, Lofton said, "sad part about it is everybody's fields put ours to shame. Lubbock, as big as it is, ought to have the fields, I would think."
Youth and adult fields combined, Midland has 21, while Lubbock has 13. Drum said he'd like to see around 16 new fields in Lubbock.
City council members did not make any decisions on Thursday. Currently, they say their biggest concern is where to get the money to build new fields.
Group of Citizens Say Lubbock Could be Missing Out on Millions
Lubbock is at the forefront for hosting sports tournaments in West Texas, but now members of the sports community say Lubbock lacks the facilities needed to recruit large tournaments and the thousands of visitors they bring.