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From the Dugout: Challenging Times
Nov. 1, 2020
By Terry Hennessy
PHOENIX – The Winter Worlds being played here now is perhaps the most challenging tournament in an extremely challenging year.
The first session of the older group (65-85) is concluding today (Thursday) and the second younger group (40-60) begins tomorrow (Friday). I’m playing in the 70 AAA division.
So far in the first group, one 75 AAA player went down and was bloodied, went to the hospital, and was found to be positive for COVID 19. The team, which had finished play when the news came through, was contacted and told they had to withdraw from the tournament and could not come to the field. The manager was very gracious and understood.
The director who treated the player also had to be relieved and went home to be tested.
So far in the second group, more than 13 teams have withdrawn since the initial schedules were posted last week. All of those teams reported one or more of their players testing positive to COVID 19 and – acting in the best interests of other teams – withdrew from the tournament.
We hope all of the players have a swift and complete recovery.
The question, especially now, is why we continue to hold tournaments in a pandemic, especially when the numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths are climbing around the country.
The answer is that we believe the nature of our outdoor sport and the protocols we have in place on the fields provide seniors with a unique experience during these times that lift their spirits and provide healthy exercise through the joy of playing softball.
Is there a risk? Of course. But, so far, we have held tournaments throughout the country for more than 20,000 senior softball players and their families. We have tracked less than 40 cases from players who attended the tournaments. Fortunately, most cases have not been serious.
This is not to downplay the danger – there is a risk. However, I believe that we need to weigh the risk with the benefits of the good that essential social interaction of senior softball provides both players and their families.
Terry Hennessy is chief executive officer of Senior Softball USA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.