December 23, 2009 10:47:00 AM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Bat and ball sports have been a part of E.T. Colvin''s life ever since he can remember.
Baseball was his sport at Lee High School in Columbus, and he was good enough to earn a scholarship to play the sport for three years at the University of Alabama.
When Colvin realized he never was going to earn a living playing baseball, he turned to the next best thing: Softball.
Colvin played slow-pitch softball for 24 years, and spent the last 10 years in the men''s Major Division. He participated in nine Amateur Softball Association Nationals, and played some of his last softball with the Cash Distributing team out of Columbus.
But Colvin''s biggest contribution to softball didn''t come on the diamond.
For the past 20 years, Colvin has worked as an administrator at the state, national, and international levels to help build support and to promote the game of softball.
Last month, Colvin''s years of service were recognized when he was unanimously elected to become a member of the ASA Hall of Fame.
Colvin, who lives in Columbus, will become just the third person from the state of Mississippi to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be Nov. 10, 2010.
"I have some great friends in there, and it is a great honor to know you''re going to be a part of that," said Colvin, who serves as the ASA Mississippi President. "Anything I have accomplished as far as being the president of ASA and getting elected to the Hall of Fame, if it wasn''t because of Roger (Short) and all of my people back here, none of that stuff would have ever have happened. You don''t get to do the things I have gotten to do unless you have got some people who really support you and stand behind you along the way. You can''t do it on your own."
Short, the executive director of the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority, nominated Colvin to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Short also serves as an at-large player representative for Mississippi ASA. He said Colvin''s said integrity is something that sets him apart and has allowed him to be such a successful representative and administrator.
"Everybody knows E.T. is pretty honest and he is straight forward," Short said. "You get what you see and you see what you get. That is just the way he is. He doesn''t pull a lot of punches. Some folks don''t like that, but that is what they get him. He isn''t going to make promises to people he can''t keep."
Colvin said people have learned he will follow the same approach at the national and international levels. He said his goal always has been to do what is best for the entire organization.
"I am straight forward. I don''t know any other way to be," Colvin said. "If you''re that way with everybody, they will accept you. We all have faults, and Lord knows people have accepted a lot of mine."
In the state of Mississippi, Colvin oversees the registration of more than 2,000 teams and 500 umpires each year. Individually, 6,200-6,500 girls ages 6-18 register each year, which puts the state in the top 25 nationally.
But Colvin''s influence has extended outside of the state. In 1999, he ran for the office of regional vice president and was elected to represent Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and metro Memphis. He served in that position for five years and then lost a close bid to become the national president of ASA.
In 2004, Colvin ran unopposed and became national president of ASA and USA Softball. He also traveled to Guatemala City, where he ran for the office of North American vice president of the Confederation of Caribbean and Central American Softball (COMPASA).
In October, Colvin was was named the North American vice president of the International Softball Federation (ISF) at the XXIV International Softball Federation Congress in Margarita Island, Venezuela.
Colvin recently ran unopposed again for the office of national president of ASA and will go in as president in two years. A president serves a six-year obligation. He expects his most recent appointment will be the final time he will hold office.
"You look back on it and you feel humble and proud you get recognition for something you might have done," Colvin said. "It never has been work. You''re giving them something to do that is positive. If you make them enjoy it, it keeps them away from other stuff."
Colvin said he is very proud of the state of Mississippi''s association. He said he has done his best to encourage participation in softball, which he calls a "good, wholesome physical activity." Colvin''s volunteer service in a variety of positions has allowed him to travel to the Philippines, Venezuela, New Zealand, and other places. He said his love for the game has helped him be an effective ambassador for the game of softball.
"People know and understand how much I love the game," Colvin said. "Because of that, I think they feel the decisions I am going to make area always going to be in the best interests to protect the integrity of the sport. They don''t always agree with my opinions and how I go about doing it, but I think they can overlook my faults to say, ''I don''t like how he''s doing it, but in the end it is going to be the right decision.'' "
Colvin reiterated he wouldn''t have been able to do as much as he has done without the support of so many hard-working people in Mississippi. He said those people deserve credit for allowing him to serve the game of softball.
"It has been a great ride," Colvin said. "It is real humbling when you look back at what you have been able to do. Anytime you get any recognition for doing something that you love, it makes it that much better. It has been a lot of fun, and it is going to be that way for a few more years."
The ASA was founded in 1933. It is the national governing body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA sanctions competition in all 50 states through a network of 77 local associations.
The 10 members of the Class of 2009 will increase the National Softball Hall of Fame to 353 since it was established in 1957.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.