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Discussion: To the current 60 and 65 year old players a question for you

Posted Discussion
Jan. 14, 2009
Lecak
Men's 55
1004 posts
To the current 60 and 65 year old players a question for you
I'm curious when you guys were 50 years old did you watch the guys who would have been 60 and 65 years at that time and can you describe your impressions.

The roadmap that you current gentleman are providing me is quite impressive. The ability to see what the future holds and possibly improve upon it is quite a legacy your providing us.
Jan. 14, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4253 posts
I watched them and played with them and younger guys.
You can always learn something from watching or listening during a game.
That was before labeling of players.
Ranking a team is one thing branding a player is another.
I seldom play against the younger players now, but do, because it's usually rec ball here. For me, it's not worth an injury in that game, but for a tournament it's all apart of it. In rec ball, I only play 1st, 3rd or 2nd. In tourneys I pitch and the others.
Just don't get hurt somehow, it shortens the longevity.
Jan. 14, 2009
santo
Men's 55
41 posts
Lecak, the thing that got me into senior ball was attending a local tourney and walking around the fields seeing 50's, 55's, 60's and 65's playing at different levels, I was 49 and it opened my eyes to the fact that I could be playing the game forever! Now, whenever I'm at a tourney, I make it a point of watching other age bracket games. To me, they are just as competitive and just as fun to watch. I've learned alot from the older guys already, and will continue to learn from them. It's just part of the game.
Jan. 14, 2009
AlleninGa
Men's 60
113 posts
Lecak, first let me say that I've never had more fun playing softball, than I'm having now......

I have always admired ball players that keep playing into their 50's,60's,70's and even 80's, regardless of their level of play. I have an especially high regard for those that work hard at maintaining a high level of play at what ever age groupe they are in. They have always been an inspiration for me to stay in playing shape and keep working on my skills. They are a constant reminder that we can be a rookie every five years and play serious competitive softball as long as we have that desire. As far as I'm concerned, these guys are a major part of what keeps the softball "FIRES" burning. I'm proudly playing 60 + AAA and don't plan on stopping any time soon. The 70's and 80,s guys are true heros of the game..........
Jan. 14, 2009
Lecak
Men's 55
1004 posts
Let me give you some personal examples. Bruce Fairchild was in Vegas recently and I got to take some swings with him. That dude can flat out hit. I regularly take BP with Steve Imlay, Hank Cluess and the Stoneman. These guys are monsters. I get to watch the GSF team play on a regular basis and what a treat. What do they all have in common they are approaching or are over 60. This is my point of reference for the future.
Jan. 14, 2009
AlleninGa
Men's 60
113 posts
Great examples, they are definitely a good point of reference. Bruce has helped me with my swing. We are both left handed hitters, so I watch him closely and listen to what he says. Will you be at CST in Jacksonville?
Jan. 14, 2009
CRUSADERVB
Men's 65
272 posts
HEY JOE, HOW DID YOU GUYS DO IN MENIFEE? YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT WATCHING AND LEARNING. I LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY WEEKEND. IT ALSO HELPS PLAYING ON A TEAM LIKE GSF, WITH ALL THE FUN WE HAVE. YOU BETTER HAVE THICK SKIN ON THIS TEAM, NO ONE IS SAFE, ESPECIALLY WITH WOODY AND JERRY AROUND!! FUN IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. SEE YOU IN PALM SPRINGS BROTHER.
Jan. 14, 2009
curveball
Men's 65
395 posts
Our league in Palm Springs follows SSUSA rules and players are rated by skill level, not age. I'm one of the fortunate few that has gotten to play with some of the older age group guys in tournament rule type league games. They have been an inspiration. I get to do BP with lots of the older guys on Tues and Thurs, watching them hone their skills for league and tourneys. I take my hat off to them, I also am aware through their hard work and skills, there is always going to be a place for me in softball. The older guys have given me the inspiration, all I have to do is supply the desire. It's sure nice to be a rookie every 5 years!
Jan. 14, 2009
the wood
1071 posts
Joe, to your point about our impressions of the 60/65 divisions that we saw 12 years ago...
I played against what was considered one of the better 60 teams in '97. To tell you the truth, I was fearful that we'd hurt them. The level of play in the 60s today compared to '97 is like night and day. But the same can be said of the 50s today as to when we played in it... although the spread is greater in the 60s than in the 50s.
The team that we played was a M/M+ team (divisions were not exactly the same as today) but they didn't seem to have much power... certainly not like the 60s today. Nor were they as athletic as the players now.
We have been told many times that we were also the pioneers of West Coast USSSA in the mid 70s so we're used to this 'responsibiilty'. We = Capitol Insulation, Bay Area Merchants, Campbell Carpets...
I never planned to be playing in my 60s as there were no real good role models that fueled my aspirations. My peers and I figured that we'd be done @ 40...
A lot has been said about senior softball lately and I'm one that feels that it has improved over the past 12 years... in many ways. Not the least of which is that guys like Ron Parnell are now playing. As you have noted several times, Joe, there are a lot of <50 guys waiting to play... such as Kevin of Anaconda.
But regardless of how old one is, there's a right and a wrong way to play the game. It is refreshing to watch the disciplined teams play, whether they're 50 or 80... maybe there will be age 85 level teams before long.
BW
Jan. 15, 2009
DoubleL10
Men's 65
797 posts
Joe, I have been playing over 50 ball since 1996. I remember my first year - I did not turn 50 until November - I felt like a kid again! A "young pup" playing with all these guys who could still play very well.
I played with the Orange Crush from Florida and I remember the SSUSA Nationals at Phoenix that year. My wife and I watched the 70s and up and were amazed (1) that these guys were still playing, and (2) they were still pretty good and having fun! There wives were there and enjoying the tournament as much as the men. We spoke to several of them and they appeared to be in very good health and very much enjoying themselves. I remember thinking then - and now - that I hope I can still PLAY at that age! ...and I'm getting closer every year.
And one thing I realize as the years go by... I still love to play the game, but I play as much for the friendships renewed each year and the camaraderie with the players and their families on my and other teams, as well.
Jan. 15, 2009
Lecak
Men's 55
1004 posts
You gentleman provide a great perspective. To me the senior softball experience is alot more than just the game itself. The physical and mental health benefits etc. etc. I know that fairly routinely guys I know in their late 30's and really early 40's ask me about senior ball and the only thing I can tell is what I did to keep playing and what I currently see that is going on in the 60's and what I believe that will look like for me. I got alot to look forward to if I keep my health. It will be interesting to look back 10 years from now and see what we have left the 40 year old guys. Bob your comment on senior ball in your 12 years and the improvements is interesting let's hope my age group adds to the improvements, so the new guys coming in can play at the appropriate level that their health and skills will allow.
Jan. 16, 2009
doker
Men's 60
168 posts
YES LECAK ITS AWESOME TO BE 62 AND STILL PLAYING THE GAME AT A GOOD LEVEL........I CAN REMEMBER TURNING 50 AND GETTING INTO THE HALF CENTURY IN FLORIDA...I HAD BEEN UMPIRING FOR THE PREVIOUS 20 YEARS AS ALOT OF US HAVE DONE.....AND WANTED TO PLAY AGAIN....BOY WHEN I STARTED OUT I COULD STILL FIELD AND RUN(ALTHOUGH I WAS NEVER FAST)..BUT THE HITTING WAS BANJO STYLE TRYING TO PLACE THE BALL INSTEAD OF JUST RARING BACK AND BLASTING THE BALL AS I DO TODAY...I'M TWICE THE HITTER TODAY AS I WAS 12 YEARS AGO AND CAN EVEN GO YARD ON OCCASION......PLAYING KEEPS ME IN SOMEWHAT GOOD SHAPE AND THE COMPETITION AND COMRADERIE MAKES MY DAY....I HOPE ALL OF U GUYS IN YOUR 50'S HANG ON TO YOUR HEALTH AND ARE ABLE TO PLAY AS WE DO WELL INTO YOUR SIXTIES...ITS A TRIP...ITS SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO WHEN EVERYTHING ELSE SEEMS TO SLOW DOWN LATER IN LIFE.......IT'S AWESOME...DOKER37
Jan. 22, 2009
Omar Khayyam
958 posts
I'm playing on a 70s team this year, and I didn't start to play senior ball until my 60s (played rec ball with guys 30-40 years younger than me before that). I remember how impressed I was when I began to play and watch seniors 60 and older. They were in such good shape; such fine fielders; great hitters; only improved pitching was not immediately evident.

I appreciated what years of playing had done for their defensive strategy; their base running expertise; their ability to hit the opposite way. It was a joy to watch and every at bat was filled with suspense.

Then came the hot bats! Ruined a lot of it for me. Of course I like to poke the occasional home run, but I was never a home run hitter the first 5 decades I played. Players started swinging for the fences, defensive plays were limited, base running was more routine. I still love to play, but the artificial power of the hot bats has taken some of the fun out of the game for me, both playing and watching. Still proud of the athletic shape that my peers are inóbrag about them all the time, but let's go back to the single walls of old.
Jan. 22, 2009
Gary Heifner
248 posts
My team has been basically the same guys since 2002. We have played at the 50, 55, 60 levels and next year 65+. Although the opponents were good in 2002, I feel the competition has become tougher over the years. We played against many guys who came out for a little recreational softball and dropped away when they found out the level of intense competition. As more and more guys are working out and hitting the gym more and more, the athletic quality has, to me, greatly increased. I have seen many 70 to 80 year old players who can still run, hit and throw at a very high level.
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