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From the Dugout - Dispelling Rumors
May 1, 2020
By Terry Hennessy
As we get closer to re-opening the wonderful sport of senior softball, rumors abound about when fields will be opened in different cities.
In almost all cases, city field officials do not know until shortly before the fields are allowed to be opened. The decisions vary from state to state – and even from city to city, depending on how the pandemic is affecting a particular area.
SSUSA intends to hold tournaments as soon as fields are open to us. However, we need two weeks to set up a tournament, arrange umpires, schedule the games and assign directors.
That is why we will be making a go / no-go decision on major tournaments two weeks before they are scheduled to begin. If there is no clarification from the fields, we will cancel the tournament.
To be clear, this decision affects the major tournaments run through the SSUSA Office.
Our independent Tournament Directors will be making similar decisions, but may be able to wait until closer to the time the tournament is scheduled to begin to make their decision. These are tournaments in which teams send entry fees directly to the Tournament Director, not SSUSA.
We have received several positive comments from city and field officials to the Rules and Recommendations we published two weeks ago. This is very good news because we hope the new rules will allow us to re-open the sport as soon as possible in a safe way.
“I saw that you are making some adaptations and social distancing plans for your tournaments and that’s great,” said Chris Pelzman of the Roseville (CA) Parks and Recreation Department. “We may steal some of your new guidelines for our Roseville adult softball leagues.”
Field and city officials echoed Pelzman’s comments as they started to enact their own regulations from Salem, OR., to Polk County, FL.
In Reno, Michael Charles of the Parks and Recreation Department, sent an email asking for our recommendations and mentioned that his city would be removing bleachers and benches in dugouts. He said Reno would be asking players to bring their own chairs and spread out in and out of the dugout to maintain social distancing.
SSUSA has sent its own recommendations to all of the Parks and health officials in the cities and states in which we hold tournaments, as well as to all of our leagues and other national softball organizations.
We hope that the adoption of these measures will allow us to re-open the sport sooner.
Terry Hennessy is chief executive officer of Senior Softball USA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.