Mark Sorenson: Overhaul needed for softball

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 11:58 16/12/2012
Mark Sorenson
Photosport
MARK SORENSON: "I think we're at a stage where it's time to shake the tree. It's the old saying, if nothing changes, nothing will change. The definition is insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result."

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Softball legend Mark Sorenson believes it is time Softball New Zealand "shook the tree" at the administration level in order to fix the game.

With the calling of a special AGM in Wellington today, softball appears in crisis after a tumultuous year around the diamonds in 2012.

Ten provincial associations called the meeting following the release of a document, titled Rebuilding Our Foundations.

The document underlines the sport's need for an overhaul at the top level, and calls for SNZ to appoint a "high- energy change manager" - virtually a vote of no- confidence in current general manager Dane Dougan.

Dougan did not reply to Sunday News phone calls yesterday, but it is understood his position with the organisation is shaky.

Today's meeting follows the resignation of former Softball New Zealand chairman Rex Capil last week. It is thought the outspoken former chairman - who also did not answer inquires from Sunday News - resigned for personal reasons, having also stood down from the New Zealand Rugby League board.

Earlier this year, SNZ lost $300,000 in funding from the New Zealand Community Trust - which forced the organisation into a structure review that led to four top personnel being made redundant. Sorenson, who played for the Black Sox between 1989 and 2001, and in 2004, said further changes are needed for the sport to flourish again in New Zealand.

"I think we're at a stage where it's time to shake the tree," he told Sunday News.

"It's the old saying, if nothing changes, nothing will change. The definition is insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

"We just need to find a happy medium where we can sit and draw the right type of athlete to play the game. I don't think the mandate has changed any, but it's just getting back to the grassroots which is critical in a game like ours.

"I don't think we'd be being totally honest if you were totally comfortable with the direction the game is taking," he continued.

"I've got some concerns but I think there are challenges that not everyone is aware of in terms of trying to get the game going in the direction that we need - in terms of funding and financial support.

"Those challenges are right at the feet of those driving the game.

"I don't think it's catastrophic, but I do think some things need to happen, and some things need to change.

"I don't think it's going forward en masse."

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Sorenson, softball's biggest identity in New Zealand, said he was open to becoming a future board member at SNZ.

However, Sorenson admitted it was unlikely he'd want a higher position in the organisation.

- Sunday News

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