Over-50 softball players still love to play the game

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

We are two weeks into the softball season for my 50-and-over league. The first week the temperature was in the low 40’s. Week number two was about 40 degrees warmer. My team played better in week one. We picked up a win that week. We lost in week number two. Not sure if we’re a cold-weather team or if it was just a coincidence.

Two things are for certain. It’s a fun league, and the teams that make up our league are entirely different from the teams that are playing on the other diamonds at the Forest Hills complex. Our teams come to play wearing sweat pants or jeans and t-shirts from previous seasons adorned with the over-50 league logo. The teams made up of the younger guys all sport matching uniform jerseys and baseball pants. Some of them even have matching equipment bags and jackets.

I’m guessing that means they have better sponsors than we do. Actually, we don’t have ANY sponsors. We all paid a fee just so we could play the game. I think all of us older guys have decided it’s not about looking really cool in our designer softball “outfits”; we’re playing strictly because we still love to play the game.

There’s another thing that has become evident to me that our league is different from theirs. In our league some of the guys go out for a beer or two after the game. That alone doesn’t make us any different from the younger guys. What makes us different is we actually have beer bellies that come along with us.

I’ve noticed after playing in two games and watching a couple of others is, most of our guys have lost at least a step or two when running the bases. That’s actually not a big deal because most of the defensive guys have lost that same step or two trying to come up with the ball. Not only is the defense a little slower, they also don’t possess the same rocket arms they did 15 to 20 years ago. That tends to make things even out between the two sides.

So far, I’m really glad I decided to come out of softball retirement. I hope I can continue to say that as the season progresses, one pulled hamstring, groin or twisted ankle, and I’m sure I may feel differently.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

From the May 18-24, 2011 issue

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