Dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar still holds dear to herself the lessons she learned on the softball field.
So, to say that the McAllen Boys & Girls Club CEO is excited about the opening of the new McAllen Softball Complex might be a little understated, especially when former Olympic pitcher Monica Abbott — arguably the greatest softball pitcher of all time — will help celebrate the opening.
Abbott will first hold a power pitching camp Aug. 18 at the complex, located at 1921 N. Bicentennial Blvd. in McAllen. The event is presented by Cavazos Sports Institute and this will be the second time she and CSI have partnered.
“It’s an honor to have Monica back in the RGV,” CSI owner Jaime Cavazos said. “Our Valley youth softball players will be able to learn and develop their pitching skills from the greatest to ever do it.”
There will be three, three-hour pitching camps for elementary, middle school and high schoolers.
The camp is just part of what Abbott will be doing. After the camp there will be a meet and greet with the phenom pitcher, winner of a silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games plus more than a dozen gold medals from events the like the Women’s World Championship, the World Cup of Softball and the Pan American Games, among others. The meet and greet and softball registration will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend. Abbott will be signing autographs and having photos taken with Valley kids and families.
“We are kicking off our year-long softball program that evening and we are so excited about it,” Gonzalez-Alcantar said. “I couldn’t think of anyone better than an Olympian to come and do this, someone who is a voice for girls’ athletics and she does so much for girls in general. In the softball community, she is someone everybody looks up to.”
Abbott will return to the field on Monday morning for the official ribbon cutting for the complex.
“What a great opportunity for girls of all ages to come and have Monica Abbott christen the complex and be here for this event,” Gonzalez-Alcantar said. “We are excited to kick off our year-round softball and are looking forward to seeing all the girls come to register and be a part of this day.”
Gonzalez-Alcantar said all softball players are required to bring their parents and they will be able to register online. She added that they expect many of the girls will not have ready made teams, but the Boys & Girls Club will help create those teams and make sure each player is on a team, preferable with their school and their friends.
“Monica is a great teacher but also an outstanding motivational speaker,” Cavazos said. “Campers and parents will be able to hear her story, the ups and downs of her journey and have a free meet and great and photo opportunity.”
The Boys & Girls Club will be registering players from age 6 through middle school and high school divisions.
“This is a big deal for our club,” Gonzalez-Alcantar said. “I was a pitcher – not a very good one – but the game taught me a lot so for us to usher in this complex and year round softball is an incredible goal accomplished. With Monica here, it’s outstanding.”
For more information on the registration, call (956) 687-3910. For more information on the camp by CSI, visit csitrain.com or by call (956) 451-2017.