Senior League Softball World Series takes stage

We have a lot to be proud of in this community — especially in terms of having so much to showcase for visitors when they come to the beach every summer.

There is the ocean, and all that comes with it. The inland bays and inlet, where crabbers, boaters, kayakers and fishermen can satisfy their hobbies to their heart’s content. We have some of the best seafood in the world, and some of the greatest restaurants to enjoy it. There is a boardwalk in Bethany, quaint shops and stores throughout the region and a local populace intent on making the visiting experience as unforgettable as possible.

All of those things are right here, and they always are. There are certainly many restaurants and shops that close their doors in the off-season, but there is enough open year-round nowadays that people can enjoy a trip to the beach at any time of the year and have a good time doing it.

There is indeed a lot of stuff to do around here, contrary to a popular opinion formed years ago. That being said, one of the best weeks of the year for this area is upon us.

The Senior League Softball World Series will be kicking off at the Pyle Center on Sunday, Aug. 5, with opening ceremonies starting at 3 p.m. Ten teams of girls between the ages of 13 and 16 from around the world will converge on Roxana to determine who is the best team in the world.

And we couldn’t be more excited.

This is an exciting tournament just to watch, with four games a day from Sunday to Friday, and the final two games next Saturday. The skill of the players is remarkable, the enthusiasm of the crowd is contagious and the setting at the ballpark is fantastic, with fans from all corners of the planet cheering on their teams.

“The competition level is high,” said Martin Donovan, World Series director. “It’s good to watch that level of softball. Once you come out and see it, you’ll be back.”

And that is true. We have the honor of putting out a publication covering the Series every year (“Homeplate”), and several of us get to spend hours every day at the park, enjoying the softball, atmosphere and concession-stand hot dogs. We’ve also noticed many of the same local people at the park every year, both as volunteers and spectators.

Most of the attention goes to the local District III representative (this year, it is a team from Woodbridge), but it’s not uncommon for spectators to also “adopt” an international team for the week. Our editor was glad to see Guam back in this year’s tournament, as he took a liking to their team and fans two years ago.

The Senior League Softball World Series is free for spectators, and the memories that come from watching are priceless. In a tough economy, that is just good business for all of us.