Sparks History

Spirit- The Fastpitch softball program teaches its participants the value of maintaining a positive outlook at all times, as well as encouraging consistent support for all teams that wear the name.

Pride - Wearing the Sparks uniform has always carried a value for what it represents. Athletes are taught to learn a sense of accomplishment in learning goals, regardless of the outcome of competition.

Attitude - Sportsmanship and gamesmanship are focal facets of the Spark program. Athletes are expected to carry themselves with a positive mental outlook and respect all participants in the game of softball. This carries to off-field activities and all team functions.

Responsibility - Sparks players are expected to learn the game and its rules, and are always accountable for their actions. These skills are taught to better prepare athletes for future endeavors.

Knowledge - All athletes are taught all aspects of the game of softball and ASA rules, as well as the techniques for dealing with other participants in the game.

Skill - Participants in the program complete drills, extensive practice sessions and compete against the best available competition in order to test their abilities.

Why is the SPARKS name so strong?

The Orland Park Sparks were founded in 1979, and since have developed a tremendous history of providing the best available fundamental instruction, quality competition and exposure for young athletes. The program was founded with honest values and has strived to be not only the best in Illinois, but throughout the Midwest and nation. The Sparks have also been instrumental in developing local leagues for competition, coordinating umpire recruiting in the Chicago Metro area and providing a venue for tournaments that host several competitive teams. Additionally, many of the Sparks staff has been called upon as clinicians for coaches, players and umpires.

The team has developed an outstanding tradition nationally, based on success in some of the highest level tournaments. The Sparks teams have made repeated visits to ASA National tournaments at all age levels. The 18u team has made it to the Nationals 11 consecutive years, highlighted by the 1996 Class A National Champions. Sparks teams have also finished in the Top 10 nationally on three other occasions. Because of the consistent level of success, the Sparks name has become synonymous with high-caliber softball throughout the nation.

The Orland Park organization has achieved a high level of success by using quality instruction. Coaches range in experience from several years on the collegiate level and Woman's Open level to the former coach of an IHSA State Champion. Aided by the presence of some alumni in the collegiate coaching ranks, the current Sparks coaching staff and administration has some of the best available college networking in the country. It is also common for Sparks teams to bring in outside expert talent to aid in instruction of athletes.

Because of the brilliant reputation the program carries, the Sparks have gained an extensive following. From brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents at the younger levels to college coaches and softball junkies at the older levels, the Sparks always seem to command great crowds at tournaments. The exposure from college coaches has translated to more then 100 athletes that have continued their softball careers at the next level while gaining a college education.

POWER of the SPARKS in girl's fastpitch softball

Since its inception, the Sparks girl's softball organization has not only been highly successful on the field of play, but has wielded enormous influence over the progress of the sport. The Sparks travel teams have led the way in assisting young ladies of all ages to attain softball excellence and, as a result, they have been models for the spawning of countless other local and national teams.

The Sparks have been a force on the softball field, primarily because of its dedication to excellence and the athletic developments of young ladies from age 11 to 18 in their softball careers. The successful careers of returning players testify to the positive influence the Sparks have over their athletics and academic careers as well as their lives in general.

Additionally, the organization has assisted numerous players in their academic quests and has been a pioneer in assisting players to obtain numerous college scholarships. The power of the Sparks can be clearly seen whenever the teams take the field, for the electricity of being a Spark fills the air with excitement and anticipation.