WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- "It's an honor to be recognized for the effort," Buck O'Shield told WWAY shortly after he and wife were inducted into North Carolina Softball Hall of Fame earlier this summer. Click the play video icon above to see WWAY's entire report on Buck and Judy O'Shields.
Fastpitch softball for girls on the high school level started 20 years ago this month. Every single player in the state, if given the opportunity, should thank Judy and Buck O'Shields per Ashley softball coach Chip Adams. "Yes, absolutely, and most of these kids hadn't even been born when they started this," Adams said. "In fact the O'Shields did all this work before these kids were born and it's all fastpitch now, pretty much because of them."
"Our daughter played high school ball, here in Wilmington at Hoggard High School," Judy O'Shields said. "She played slowpitch softball. When she wanted to play at Carolina there was no scholarship money available to her because all of the scholarship money went out of state. We saw the injustice there."
The Wilmington couple ran into numerous roadblocks over a five year stretch everywhere they turned. They won the battle in 1994. 20 years later the O'Shields were inducted into the North Carolina Softball Hall of Fame. "The greatest frustration in trying to get it done was dealing with the North Carolina High School Athletic Association," Buck O'Shields claimed. "They're an entity unto themselves. They were created by the legislature and they don't answer to anybody, but themselves. If you weren't in the inter-circle back then, it's probably still that way now, you're a non-entity."
The US Dept of Education and the Office of Civil Rights eventually recognized the need for change. The Office of Civil Rights threatened to take away federal funding from every school system in the state. Once the NCHSAA caught wind of that the NCHSAA added fastpitch softball to the fall list of sports. A few years later softball was switched to a spring sport.
Every state in the USA offers fastpitch softball on the high school level. Only four states switched to fastpitch after North Carolina did in 1994.
Click the play video icon above to see WWAY's entire report on Buck and Judy O'Shields.
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