Pick up softball games still exist

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She would smash my pitch into center field

• June 7, 2015

Too often we hear about our over structured, over organized and over scripted lives. On any summer Sunday, come to the softball field at the Twelve Corners Middle School on Winton Road and experience otherwise.

As shoppers stroll to the Brighton Public Market, players and fans of all ages (myself included) enjoy that nearly gone American pastime: the pick up softball game. Score is kept, but imperfectly. Last game fittingly ended in a 15 – 15 tie. Each team pitches to itself — the player on the mound expected to make an honest attempt at comebackers, of course. An umpire has never been considered.

Dave Esan, who helped found this game in 1999, describes it purpose and rich history:

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Justin Gastel (right) and family retrieving foul ball

The game has its roots in pick up games played 35 years ago at the Hillel School. As families grew, the game disappeared.  It started again 16 years ago. The theme is to have fun, and hopefully to pass the love of softball to a younger generation. Special rules were created to allow 12-16 year olds to play without disrupting the game. Some have played with us from age 12 through college.

Justin Gastel (right) and family retrieving foul ball

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The players

Michael Raff, who remembers softball in Brighton as far back as 1980, rightly says a fundamental feature is this family aspect. For many years, players have brought their children, encouraging them to play. “Kid rules” were instituted, allowing youngsters to hit but their outs did not count. When older players were injured, the adult would bat with a child running for them. The system not only developed skills and fostered an enjoyment of the game, but also, as Mike points out, “created more Dad-child bonding time. It also gave Mom some well deserved ‘Mom – time.’” Quite appreciated!

The players

All are welcome. We gather between 9:15 – 9:30 a.m. Games go until 11:15 at the latest. Balls, bats and gloves, if needed, are provided. The Brighton Public Market is open both before and after the game. For questions, contact Dave Esan at sunsoftball@hotmail.com

also see  At Young Woman’s College Prep, Brad Rosenbaum aiming to hit 1.000  Promoting Wellness through softball at the URMC

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