As the world’s largest youth sports organization, Little League® International relies on the dedication and commitment of its more than one million volunteers to grow the game and provide a memorable Little League experience to millions of children each year. Working with its highest-level volunteers, the District Administrators, along with national and global Baseball and Softball Confederations, Little League International has continued to offer its program in more than 80 countries around the world.
In February 2021, one of Little League’s District Administrators, Sophie Khidasheli, made history as she continues to work to grow the game of baseball and softball internationally, becoming the first female to be elected as Secretary General for the Georgian Baseball & Softball Federation. As part of a continued celebration of Girls with Game Month, Little League International took the time to speak with Ms. Khidasheli in a six-inning interview.
Little League (LL): How did you first get involved with Little League?
Sophie Khidasheli (SK): When I was 11 years old, I signed up to play for the newly formed Tbilisi Little League softball team, “Georgian Angels,” where I played for five amazing years. In 2016, I decided to return to Little League to be an Assistant District Administrator. Unfortunately, in 2019, the previous District Administrator, who founded Little League in Georgia, passed away. He trusted me to continue what he started, developing Little League in Georgia, so in 2020, I took over as the District Administrator.
LL: What did it mean to be elected as the first female Secretary General for the Georgian Baseball & Softball Federation?
SK: Being the first female Secretary General is a big challenge for me and an opportunity to prove that gender doesn’t matter when you do the job that you love. In this role, I am able to support new baseball and softball clubs and teams during the formation process, coordinate local championships, organize trainings and clinics for coaches, umpires, and other officials, support national teams and participate in preparation for international championships, and to stay in touch with international baseball and softball organizations like World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC), Confederation of European Baseball (CEB), European Softball Federation (ESF). My goal in this role is to promote the game and involve as many Georgians as possible in baseball/softball and to construct the first official Diamond Field in Georgia.
LL: What advice would you have for a female who isn’t sure about taking on a leadership role in the baseball and softball industry?
SK: If you love baseball and softball, and you would like to be a part of it, you shouldn’t think about your gender, because gender doesn’t matter, it is important to believe that you can do it.
LL: What does it mean to you to see young girls getting involved in Little League?
SK: When I see young girls getting involved in Little League, I know that it will have a positive impact on their lives. They will develop the skills of leadership, teamwork, and sports(wo)manship, and become stronger and ready for a successful future.
LL: What advice would you have for a girl just starting out playing the game?
SK: Enjoy each minute of being a part of Little League. Make friends and have fun. Never give up, even if you strike out, just try again and again.
LL: What does the phrase “Girls with Game” mean to you?
SK: To me, the phrase “Girls with Game” means “Empowered Women.”
If you have a story that you’d like to share, or recognize a Girl with Game within your local Little League or district, feel free to email [email protected] or share on social media by tagging @LittleLeague and using #GirlsWithGame.