Softball on its own took a while to gain the traction to become a sport, let alone being respected as one. It wasn't until 1910 that softball became an NCAA sanctioned sport for college. That is 51 years after baseball had become one.
Softball the sport was developed when some boys decided to play a modified version of baseball with broom sticks. It gained traction and the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) finalized the rules of the game in 1934.
From there, the sport gained popularity, attracting young women all around the states. It became even more organized when the All-American Girl's Professional Baseball league hit the spotlight during World War II.
During this time they began to stray softball's rules away from baseball's. Originally it was a mixture of current softball rules and baseball rules. However, it mirrored baseball much closer than modern day softball.
By the end of the league many of the rules softball has today were put into place. The sport was the most autonomous it had been.
This is why, in 1910, softball was sanctioned at the collegiate level, becoming one of the only three sports to have been put into that level soley for women.
The first World Series was played in 1982 in Ohmaha, Nebraska. UCLA was the series victors, winning 11 more champsionships before 2011. This was a big moment for the softball community and how it was respected in terms of a collegiate sport.
After the first championship it progressively got more competative and gained a following. The following, however, will never be as large as the All-American Girl's Professional Baseball league because of the lack of action from the MLB, but it is still a good number.
Currently, a total of 600 Colleges, ranging from Division I to Division III, participate in the World Series. It is a tournament consisting of 32 teams that fight to win the series. It is a double elimination, meaning that every team would need to lose twice before they were completely out of the running, and in the final they play to win two out of three games.
Post-college leagues were attempted for softball several times, however, most of them failed due to lack of audience or financial troubles. As a result, the avid softball viewers always take to college softball.
It began humbly, with only a few boys wanting to play a modified game of baseball and ended up as sport considered to be as well represented throughout college campus's just as much as their male counterpart. This is a huge win for not only softball, but for all women's athletics.
Ratifying softball as a collegiate sport set into motion a lot of events that helped softball's popularity and resulted in it landing a spot in the Olympics. It's the history of college softball that really shows why it is where it is today.