Pick up softball games still exist

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.

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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!

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 [email protected]

Opinion Page, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 2015.

 

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About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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