December 23, 2009 10:47:00 AM
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.
David Ferraez commented at 12/24/2009 8:12:00 AM:
Congratulations ET..............I was fortunate enough to get to play with ET on Cash and a tournament team..........we had a great time that I will always remember......ET is well deserving of this honor. df
fastpitchparent commented at 12/25/2009 10:26:00 PM:
Please give me a break. This man and his side kick Roger have been the reason our daughters are so far behind in fast pitch softball. When our young ladies needed to be working on their fast pitch skills, they were trying to force them to play fast pitch only after slow pitch was in the playoff stages each season. They knew by doing this they would never have enough people sign up to play fast pitch softball.
Ask yourself this, why did Caledonia pull out of the local park and do their own thing? Yes, bingo, you got it, so they could play fast pitch softball and not have to deal with these people each summer.
When you look at the "money reward" each of these men got when they hosted slow pitch tourneys, you will see why they continue this day to push the game of slow pitch for young women. They have put a lot of moola in their pockets over the last twenty years when it comes to pushing ASA slow pitch softball in this state.
Yes, it's played in high school, but no scholarships are available for this sport or have been for many years now. The ASA has rewarded both ET and Roger very greenly to keep pushing this sport when it hasn't been played in college in many many years.
Congats ET for singlehandily putting our young ladies behind in a sport they should have been playing all summer some 10 years ago. You got your reward but I hope you have many sleepless nights for what you and Roger have done to our young ladies.
Don Wells commented at 12/26/2009 8:46:00 PM:
Congrats E.T.! Despite what was said by the previous writer I believe that you have done an outstanding job. You not only represented the players well, but we the officials were treated with respect. I have seen you work at the local level and national level and you treated every one the same. once again I commend you and congratulate you.
David Ferraez commented at 12/29/2009 11:31:00 AM:
Dear Fastpitchparent...........fast pitch is a totally different game and not to be confused with slow pitch softball. Many of us ex baseball players chose to enjoy slow pitch, a high scoring, easy to hit game. It is enjoyed by millions and millions of players as well as spectators and in some areas year round. Just because Roger and ET enjoyed and supported this great sport does not mean you couldn't have taken the initiative to develop fast pitch softball just as they developed slow pitch. Look in the mirror...if fastpitch is that important to you and your family then do something about it. Your negative comments are pathetic and out of line. you should apologize to ET and Roger and the town of Columbus for your statements. ET and Roger have done an increbile job for all slow pitch softball enthusiasts.
CatfishCharlieDog commented at 12/30/2009 12:36:00 PM:
Mr. Ferraez is absolutely correct. These are two different games. I appreciate what ET and others have done for recreation period in Columbus. A lot of girls have enjoyed playing slow pitch softball that would have never played fast pitch. I can't see where those that wanted to play fast pitch were denied that opportunity at all. Did they make money off ASA? I have no idea. But, I'll bet if you broke it down by the hour it would be less than minimum wage. Congratulations, ET, this honor is well deserved.
One little comment on what Roger said - "ET is "pretty" honest? I had to laugh at that.
Henry Ward commented at 1/29/2010 9:26:00 PM:
Congrats ET You certainly are deserving of this honor! Columbus and Lowndes County have benefited from your time and efforts!
1. New Hope turns to Olsen to return soccer program to prominence HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS