It was November of 2009. Golden Stick was in its seventh season, the half way mark of its now 14 years of existence. The scene was Anthem Park, just outside the strip, Las Vegas, Nevada. Golden Stick flew its four Regional Champions into town for the 1st ever Golden Stick National Championships. The game had finally been bought to Sin City. The game has never been the same since.
While it feels like only yesterday, seven robust seasons have passed since GSWL’s first of three Las Vegas championships. GSWL has since expanded across the country, teams from Boston to California playing Golden Stick today.
Also in this time, Golden Stick obtained the world’s 1st and only official license from Wiffle Inc. The Shelton, CT company had never licensed a league before.
With events held in the hundreds, games played in the thousands, and prizes paid nearing $200,000 to date, Golden Stick Wiffle® League is one of the country’s truly great untold stories.
What is easily missed is the league’s humble beginning in a front yard in Danvers, MA, 2002. That year, out front of the home of Danvers’ John Archer, North Street became the center of the universe, at least for the freaks chasing this plastic ball like life depends on it.
How fitting that next Saturday, September 26, 2015, Danvers will again play home to a major moment in the history of America’s favorite backyard game, as the 2015 GSWL Fast Pitch National Championship rolls into Plains Park and Danvers’ sacred Twi Field.
In an interesting spin on Golden Stick’s traditional league formatting, 2015 marks a redistribution of talent in GSWL’s Fast Pitch Division. For years, top players were merging with one another creating a bottleneck of top teams, and a diminishing number of teams overall. With Nationals approaching, league President, Lou Levesque announced that teams would be dismantled. After vacating the staple franchises of the past decade, teams would be rebuilt through a national player draft. 56 players would be joined through the draft. The player list featured some of the true greats in the game. Arizona's Jim Balian, Colorado's Bill Owens, NY's Ryan Bush, California's Sylvie Serrano, GA's Korey Pitts and more. Just this past Thursday, 14 two-man ownership cores drafted their 4 man teams.
Pick after pick, ending nearly 1am on Friday, the constitution of this year’s Nationals teams took shape. Top to bottom these teams are even. Top to bottom this one is anybody’s Championship! While we cannot know who will hoist it, what we do know, is that this Saturday Danvers will again be the center of the Wiffle® universe.
Main Event Outline:
9am: Opening Ceremonies
10am-5:00pm: Qualifying Rounds
6:00pm: Super 8
7:30pm: Final Four
8:30pm: National Championship Game
*This event will also feature Wiffle® for the public: Junior’s Tourney, Local Celebrity Games, and skills clinics with Sean Steffy, the world’s most high profile Wiffle® player. Visit his YouTube Channel: Wiffleboy28 to see how incredible Steffy is at Wiffle®.
**Event schedule subject to change. Check back here later this week for official times and schedules.
GOLDEN STICK NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS - YEAR BY YEAR:
‘09 GSWL Fast Pitch - Las Vegas, NV - Piranhas (MA)
‘09 GSWL Yard League - Las Vegas, NV - Enemy (CT)
‘10 GSWL Fast Pitch League - Las Vegas, NV - Diablos (CA)
‘10 GSWL Yard League - Las Vegas, NV - Enemy (CT)
’10 Golden Stick Tournament Circuit - Phoenix, AZ - Usual Suspects (NY)
‘11 GSWL Fast Pitch - Las Vegas, NV - Bombers (NY)
‘11 GSWL Yard League - Las Vegas, NV - Throwbacks (MA)
’11 Golden Stick Tournament Circuit Nationals - Hamilton, MA - Doom (MA)
’12 GSWL Fast Pitch League - Hamilton, MA - Doom (MA)
’12 GSWL Yard League - Staten Island, NY - Throwbacks (MA)
’13 GSWL Fast Pitch League - Savannah, GA - Blue Razrs (CT)
’13 GSWL Yard League - Staten Island, NY - Throwbacks (MA)
’14 GSWL Fast Pitch League - New Britain, CT - Blue Razrs (CT)
’14 GSWL Yard League - Staten Island, NY - Minutemen (PA)
’15 GSWL Yard League - Staten Island, NY - Enemy (CT)
’15 GSWL Fast Pitch Championships - Danvers, MA - (TBD)