Slow-pitch softball is a way of life for many of the over-60 crowd who play in our league.
Every week beginning mid-May around 120 seniors age 60 and older wrap aching joints, bandage cuts and bruises, and stretch those tired muscles to play in the Vancouver Metro Senior Softball Association.
Tired of getting walloped by younger teams in Portland’s slow-pitch softball league, Dick Berry and friends Gary Waite and Chris Demos decided to form their own league in 1994. The league became a reality when Clark College agreed to let it use an old baseball field on college property. In September of 2014 VMSSA enter into an agreement with Clark County to build a new ball field at Pacific Community Park. After 18 months of fund raising VMSSA started construction of the new ball field in February of 2016. In May of 2017 VMSSA began play at the new ball field.
Players are from both shores of the Columbia River with about 30% from Oregon. Some come from as far away as Toledo and Ocean Park in Washington, and from Dallas in Oregon. Many of our players are lifelong sportsmen. Some played baseball in high school or college, some played years of adult softball, and others are new to the game. All are welcome. Our oldest active player currently is 84.
The founders decided that the VMSSA should be a recreational rather than competitive league, and that teams would be drafted from scratch at the beginning of each season. The goal is to have as evenly matched teams as possible throughout the league. “We would love to have every team end up with a record of 17-17 at the end of the season”, says past-president Joe Raabe.
Some of the more accomplished players are also members of other teams, not affiliated with the league, that travel to competitive tournaments. In past years, league members have formed traveling teams to compete in over-60, 65, 70, and 75 age divisions.
Generally, SSUSA rules apply for league games, with a few concessions to minimize the risk of injury. Runners run to special bases placed outside the baseline at first base and home plate to reduce to possibility of collisions. In this league, safety is the number one concern. Injuries just do not seem to heal as fast as they used to.
Not that the rules are soft. Every batter must run for himself, and courtesy runners may take over only after a hitter has reached base safely. Some of us have physical limitations, joint replacements, depth perception problems, or just about everything else you can think of. We still know what to do, but our bodies won’t always do it anymore.
It’s not all about softball; it really is a way of life for many in the league. Some are snowbirds and play year around. Some practice one or two days a week during the winter months at an indoor facility in Vancouver, while others play basketball or volleyball to try and stay in some resemblance of shape. A few even go fishing, hunting, or play golf together.
If interested, contact us or just come out and observe us in action.
WHO: Players of any ability who will be 60 or older during the season.
WHAT: Doubleheaders every weeknight beginning at 5:30, May through August.
WHERE: The association’s field is located at Pacific Community Park
Dave Keim, President at 503-705-3775, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roy Lawson 1st VP at 702-235-3346, email: email@example.com