It's a game for all ages

Many of us remember the ball game that children play, and throughout the city there are adult leagues. For the rest of us, the Ottawa 60+ Slo-Pitch League has about 150 men and women who get together every week to play ball, have some fun, and to form new friendships.

Others over 60 may sharpen their tennis game or hunt for foursomes to play golf as the snow melts. Not these boys and girls of summer. Every Tuesday morning, they lace up their ‘spikes’, grab their composite bats and try to stretch a single into a double or vice-versa. Well, they do their best, but the important thing is that they have fun and don’t hesitate to remind one another that “the older we get, the better we were”.

This recreational league, which has operated for more than two decades, is open to male and female softball players who are 60 or better. Some are still playing in their 80's, proving the adage that you’re never too old to play ball.

Getting involved is easy. Unlike some leagues, one doesn't have to belong to a team to join. Register as a player, and you'll be included. The League assembles everyone into new teams every spring. Player evaluations from the past year, and those for new players are used to create teams that are evenly balanced. When the teams are full, any remaining new players are placed on a 'spares list'.

All games are played on four diamonds at the RA Centre on Riverside Drive in Ottawa. We play Tuesday mornings, from May to September. Occasionally, games can be scheduled for Wednesdays.

In addition to regular play, there are pickup games every Monday morning at the RA Centre and batting practice at Hampton Park every Thursday morning. Here are a few of the possible social and other activities:

  1. post-game coffee and muffins

  2. lunch at a sponsor's restaurant

  3. picnics

  4. a golf day

  5. throwing practices in the winter, followed by coffee and a light lunch

  6. arena skating

  7. a curling ‘Funspiel’ one winter evening

  8. a ski day

  9. a trip to Myrtle Beach in April, to play ball with the locals

Officially, the season opens and closes with a League breakfast.

The Ottawa 60+ Slo-Pitch League was established in 1992 to provide an opportunity for individuals of at least 60 to play softball. It focuses on recreational ball, fun, exercise and social activities for all players. At the outset, the League was composed of four teams and 55 players, playing at Carlington Park. Within just two years, it had doubled to eight teams involving 110 players. In 1996, it relocated to the RA Centre.

As the League evolved, it took on more sophistication. The players elected an executive, and a rules committee was formed. Spouses and non-players got involved as umpires and scorekeepers. Each year, the League uses a player opinion survey to ensure that their suggestions for improvements go to the executive for consideration.

Throughout the summer, a “Selects Team” consisting of league players participates in a number of exhibition games. For many years, the highlight of the Selects' season was a weekend series against a slo-pitch team from Rochester, N.Y. Now, every time the two teams play, the ‘Friendship Trophy’ is awarded to the better team.

So, welcome to the Ottawa 60+ Slo-Pitch League. Take a minute to read this message from our President.

And to everyone, regardless of your age: