HONDURAS - A visionary initiative spearheaded by the Castillo brothers has transformed the lives of women and girls in Honduras. Panteras Slow Pitch Softball team, conceived in October 2021, began with a mere 7 women on the field of BCIE. Managed by David Castillo, trained by Alejandra Castillo, and overseen by the logistic expertise of Fabiola Rivera, Panteras has blossomed into a power-packed team that is shaping women's sports history in Honduras.
Panteras' mission has always been about more than just the game. It's about empowering women, providing them with alternative sports and recreational opportunities, and giving them a chance to be part of something greater. Despite financial constraints, the team managed to garner sponsorships and donations, acquiring their first uniform and sparking a flame that would light their journey.
In less than two years, the team has participated in multiple tournaments across the country, including the National Invitational Tournament of the Astros Association in SPS, the Base SoTo Cano Tournament in Comayagua, and the Consuelo Walker Tournament for the Fight Against Cancer in SPS. The team scored third place in the latter, marking a significant achievement in their sporting journey.
One historic moment that stands out is Panteras' participation in a match at the SOTO CANO facilities, becoming the first women's team to do so. This game concluded with a high score for Panteras, earning them a trophy for their immense efforts.
Despite their impressive accomplishments on the field, the Panteras team has also recognized the need for safe spaces for women and girls, not just in sports but in all facets of life. This realization led to the creation of workshops and training sessions focused on combating violence against women and promoting mental health.
In alliance with the National Foundation for the Development of Honduras (FUNADEH), an agreement was signed through the Generating Entrepreneurs and Sustainable Synergies (GENESIS) project, which provides support to the Panteras team, thus creating a Global Development Alliance, supported by USAID. This project allowed the team to receive new sports equipment, safe training pitches, and uniforms, and hold workshops to empower women in sports.
Currently, Panteras are preparing for the second "Consuelo Walker: No to Violence against Women and Girls" tournament, to be held in San Pedro Sula from the 4th to the 6th of August. The aim is to continue empowering women in sports, alongside workshops promoting self-esteem and mental health.
On July 2nd, Panteras celebrated their first victory in the Reyna Carazo tournament, marking an important milestone for the team. It's clear that Panteras Slow Pitch Honduras is not just a team; it's a movement. It's a testament to what can be achieved when the power of sport is harnessed to bring about societal change.