In 2013 in the U.S., over 7 million people played slow-pitch softball at least once. Four and a half million played 13 times or more. They are called core players.
1.7 million core players are male. 67,600 of those are over age 65.
In Dayton, Ohio, following the regular season of the Cuny-Zink American League, 112 slow-pitch players (all over age 63) played for six more weeks. These are called the “hard-core” players.
If they were lucky, they made the playoffs. Luckier still, some played in the championship game. (For the record, Obach’s team won the championship game – and the off-season bragging rights.)
Truth be told, everybody won. This is The Fall League.
The players come from all walks of life and all levels of athletic achievement. From scholarship athletes and those already inducted into the Hall of Fame, to those just getting started … and those starting over. They all recognize that getting a good hit or a making good play at this stage in their lives is truly something special.
They share the toughness and strength necessary to overcome all manner of physical – and emotional – challenges. Every single one has a story to tell. They love the game itself, and everything about it. They have no quit, and they’re not done playing yet.
While The Fall League tells the story of this specific league, and a specific time and place, it goes much further. It explores the impact of the sport in regard to family relationships, the bonding and camaraderie between players, and topics of aging and health that are necessary considerations for active seniors. It discusses accommodations that are made in the rules for senior leagues, and explores the development of equipment that allows players of all ages to improve and expand their game – and allows seniors players to extend their playing careers. It highlights the military veterans in the league, and explores the relationship between team sports and military experience.
Expanding the scope of the film, The Fall League skillfully blends the commentary of experts in their respective fields:
Dennis Turner, a celebrated player and Slow-Pitch Manager for Louisville Slugger®;
Dr. Leon Speroff, the author of two books on senior slow-pitch, and a player himself;
Dr. Kathy Platoni, a retired Army psychologist, veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars;
Hank Bassett, formerly Slow-Pitch Manager for Louisville Slugger® and currently USSSA Equipment Director.
Above all, this is a movie about a bunch of guys that like each other a lot, love to play the game, and redefine what it means to be a “senior”. For these players, injuries, medical conditions, and replacement of body parts just means scheduling treatments, surgeries and rehab for the off-season. And reaching age 70 just means you might have to “age up” to the next league. Maybe.
2014 Summer Edition www.SeniorSoftball.com
The Fall League was recently featured in the Summer 2014 Edition of Senior Softball USA, America’s largest circulated senior softball publication. www.facebook.com/seniorsoftball
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